Total Energies Nigeria, E&P Nigeria LimIted

Total E & P: Living And Promoting Goodwill In Host Communities

 

(Iheanyi Ezinwo) – The oil bearing communities of the Niger Delta, South South Nigeria, have been hosting multinational companies for over 60 years, a time many consider long enough for stakeholders to understand one another, and to also play mutually beneficial roles. However, that has not been the case as some oil companies seem to prefer operating in chaotic environments where they will be responsible to no one.

However, while some of these companies are only interested in what they can get from the communities, the French company, Total E&P appear to have a policy that integrates the feeling and aspirations of host communities and other stakeholders in their annual budgets. In this regard, Total appear like a lone voice in the promotion of a narrative of proactive engagements with host communities.

Unlike the other companies, Total E&P ensures that host communities and other identified stakeholders regularly enjoy a fair share of the profits made from their operations in Egi kingdom and other host communities in Rivers State and beyond.

Unlike other companies, Total do not subscribe to the idea of engaging in avoidable protracted litigation with host communities, which drag up to the supreme Court.

Ironically, even when the cost awarded to communities are less than the costs of appealing such court judgments, some companies would rather proceed to a higher court, in principle, according to their legal officers, who benefit from the prolonged litigation, thereby widening the gap in the company and community relations.

At the end of the day aggrieved communities resort to protesting, and sometimes going further to disrupt company operations.

 

 

Mobility aids provided by TotalEnergies for host communities

While the companies that turn away from their social responsibilities engage the services of security officials to intimidate host communities, Total E & P sees the communities as partners in progress, and thus execute projects in health, sports, education etc that do not only brighten the area but also help the people to help themselves.

The strategy of Total E&P giving human face to corporate social responsibility has not only promoted mutual understanding between the company and it’s host communities, it has since become a premium that announces Total E&P everywhere in the oil exploration and community relations ecosystem in the Niger Delta.

The outcome appears to be predetermined: Total E&P literally lives in the host communities.They identify with them in good times and also in bad times.Total E & P do not only profess a relationship, the company also demonstrates sincere commitment to the well-being of host communities in so many ways, and this has have been acknowledged by the communities themselves, governments and the media, among other stakeholders.

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Crowd at the TotalEnergy Free Medical Programme at Erema General Hospital on Wednesday
Crowd at the TotalEnergy Free Medical Programme at Erema General Hospital last year

 

Although conflict is regarded as a natural phenomenon in every relationship, it has been insignificant in the relationship between Total E & P and the host communities over the years because of the open line of communication that makes both sides to be on the same page at all times.

For daring to be different therefore, and for remaining committed to the ideals of cordial and mutually beneficial relationship with host communities, Total E&P deserves commendation. In the same vein, their staff also deserve commendation, for not subordinating the interest of Total to selfish interests, as has been the practice among staff members of other companies.

No doubt, Total E&P has chosen to do the right thing in an environment where other companies are indifferent to the feelings and aspirations of host communities. The call is for other companies  to borrow a leaf from the socially responsible Total E & P. It is also important to call on the host communities to continue to reciprocate the goodwill of Total by ensuring a conducive environment for uninterrupted operations.

At the end of the day, what we see is a win – win situation. All the credit however goes to the management of Total E & P, for proving to be a responsible corporate citizen in the communities where the company is operating in Rivers State.

Ezinwo Iheanyi, is a media practitioner based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State

TotalEnergies and Government officials inspecting the participating teams at the grand finale in 2021

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