The traditional ruler of Okole/Okpa Community in Agbonchia, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, Chief Friday O. Okpa has commended Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited for their CSR projects which he said include the ongoing Technical College in Agbonchia and a solar powered Streetlight in Aleto Clan.
Okpa, a stakeholder in Agbonchia host community spoke in an interview with Inside Eleme where he confirmed that the Technical College Project in Agbonchia is ongoing with a completion period of three years. He further thanked the Board members of Indorama for choosing Agbonchia for the Technical College Project, stressing that Agbonchia as large as it is, is the only clan in Eleme that has no secondary school being funded by the state government.
Hear him: “We are very happy when the Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals decided to build for us a Technical College. In Eleme as a whole, Agbonchia is the only clan in Eleme that has no state sponsored college or technical school, and we have been lamenting on this issue for a very long time until the decision of the Indorama came to give us a technical school which brought us joy.
“Although there was some delay in the start up of the technical college, right now the foundation has been laid and everything is going on fine and we hope the institution will be set for use in no distant time. I am very excited and we want to thank the board and management of Indorama Petrochemicals for this singular decision. In Eleme we are more or less the largest clan, but unfortunately the least in terms of having a technical or secondary school. Aleto has two secondary schools, Akpajo has two, Alesa one, Alode two, Ogale two, Onne one, Ebubu two and Eteo one but Agbonchia has none.
“So choosing Agbonchia to set up this technical college is a brilliant idea, the citizens of Agbonchia are very appreciative of this singular act by the Indorama. Our prayer is that God should enable them complete the building and start up the school in good time. I was informed that the project will be completed within the period of three years and three years is just around the corner. And with what I have seen at the school site, I must say that they are doing a marvelous work, we thank them for what they have been doing so far, and we hope that they will not relent in their effort to give us the good they have set for us”.
He further advised the people especially the youths of Agbonchia to acquire skills to enable them get employment when the opportunity arises.
“My message to the entire people of Agbonchia, particularly to our youths is that they should conduct themselves in a peaceful manner. In recent weeks or so, Agbonchia has been bedeviled by a lot of criminal activities by our youth, and the council of chiefs which I’m part of has been doing everything to educate the youths. Honestly we have been having series of meetings with them to see how far these activities can be stopped. We are encouraging them to learn some technical skills which will enable them to be gainfully employed, because there are lots of activities going on at Indorama and you have to be a skilled person to participate”.
“As a matter of fact, your employment is not too sure when you don’t have a skill, but if you have a skill, either you are a tractor operator, you are an iron bender, a bricklayer, an electrician, then your chance of being employed is 95% sure. But when you are not skillful in any area, then your employment is not too sure. So I appeal to the youths to go and learn a skill so that when employment opportunity comes they can quickly be employed”, he advised.
Okpa however stressed that there are still a lot of work to be done in the communities despite the interventions by Indorama. He further advised the management of Indorama to organize skill acquisition programmes for youths in the host communities from time to time so that the youths could be gainfully employed, hence help to calm the challenges of insecurity they are having in the host communities.
“Just like Bonny Local Government area, the companies there train youths who have no skills and thereafter employ them. Right now, as I speak with you most people working at Indorama are from outside the state and our own boys are just hanging around which has led to this criminal activities. If Indorama will now create an opportunity where these boys can be well trained, either on jobs as an expertise, then when chances occur in the company, they can be employed and that will lessen the crime in the clans.
“Actually, what brings about restiveness and criminal activities is lack of employment and when one is not employed, there is every tendency for the devil to use you because any idol person becomes a tool for the devil. So training of our boys should be part of the activities Indorama should embark upon, because if they are operating in an environment that is not peaceful, then they will not be at rest. They should train these boys in order to enjoy the dividend of a peaceful business environment”, he advised.
Meanwhile, the management of Indorama Eleme Petrochemical Limited (IEPL) says it has approved the construction of a technical college in Agbonchia, one of its host communities.
Head of Indorama’s Community Relations and Development, Mr. Kendrick Oluka, said the project is a continuation of Indorama’s resolve to make life better for indigenes and residents of its host communities.
He said the technical college will offer educational programmes that specialize in skilled trades, vocational trainings, applied sciences, modern technologies and career preparation.
Kendrick further said the project was conceived to invest in the development of sustainable future human capital development of the Eleme people, especially to expose the youths to practical knowledge in specialized vocations and tertiary education.
“We strongly believe that this Agbonchia Technical College will provide requisite skills and capacity for Eleme youths to successfully compete for jobs in the many companies in Eleme and anywhere else in the country”.
Mr. Oluka highlighted other social investment inventions that Indorama is engaging in the host communities which he said include erection of solar powered streetlight in Aleto expected to be inaugurated in the near future, 500-meter road with drainages on both sides valued N89 million which contract has been awarded to indigenous contractors for which work is about to begin; and the on-going construction of Community Health Center in Okerewa, which has been roofed, as well as ongoing construction of a Secondary School at Akpajo Community.
“Indorama EPCL’s relationship with Eleme host communities has always been one of mutual respect and benefit to both parties. Indorama has religiously abided with the terms of several Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) signed with the host communities, which guides its Corporate Social Responsibility interventions and the communities’ obligations to ensuring peaceful operation”, he insisted.