The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) on Tuesday inaugurated the upgraded and remodeled Kolo General Hospital as part of efforts to commemorate the discovery of oil in commercial quantities at Oloibiri in Bayelsa.
Speaking at the event, Mr Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director of SPDC noted that Oloibiri holds a pride of place in the story and history of Nigeria’s oil and gas journey and that this informed the conception of Oloibiri Health Programme (OHP).
“It was in Oloibiri that Shell made the nation’s first commercial quantity discovery of crude oil in 1958.That discovery is what has positioned Nigeria as a key player providing energy to the world, wealth to the country and abundant opportunities to the Nigerian people..
“The relationship between the SPDC and Bayelsa state since that discovery has grown with the expected footprints of our operations and social investments spread across the state. Amidsts this growth, Oloibiri remains the reference point for Nigeria’s oil and gas journey.
” It is in this light that the Shell group as part of marking Nigeria’s centenary celebrations in 2014,conceived and began the implementation of the OHP,to serve as a reference point in Nigeria for sustainable Primary Health-Care delivery,” Okunbor said.
He said that the first phase of the OHP being inaugurated consists of the remodeled Kolo General Hospital, a water treatment plant, Medical Laboratory equipment at the College of Health Technology at Otuogidi and the Dental Chair at the demonstration clinic at Otuogidi.
Gov Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa in his remarks said that the intervention by SPDC was to compliment the efforts of his administration in the health sector.
Dickson who spoke through his Deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah, (Rtd) applauded SPDC for the gesture and urged other oil firms operating in the state to emulate Shell.
“Let me appreciate SPDC and its partners for also prioritising healthcare in the state by initiating the Oloibiri Health Programme.
“This is a laudable development as it will go a long way in complementing the various steps and policies we have introduced to meet health needs of our citizens in Ogbia local government area,” Dickson said.
King Charles Owaba, Paramount Ruler of Ogbia kingdom in his remarks urged Shell to do more to ameloriate the adverse impacts of oil exploration on the people of the area.