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CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY & NATURAL DISASTERS

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During visits to the numerous flood ravaged communities and the various refugee camps, both His Excellency Governor Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, CON and the Secretary to the State Government Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay, were in agreement that although the government was doing a lot to assist the flood victims, they could not do it alone. They needed both collective efforts from private individuals and corporate bodies.

In that light, I was delighted to hear about Midwestern Oil & Gas Ltd (MWOG) efforts to assist the flood victims. To make sure it was not another gimmick or rhetoric, I entered the flooded Ughelli – Asaba road to witness the events at two refugee camps in Ndokwa West LGA to wit: Utagba-Ogbe Technical College and Umusadege Lock-up stores. The items that I saw being distributed included: 50 foams, 50 pillows, 15 containers of Turkey Oil, 50 large bags of rice, 10 cartons of powdered Peak milk, 25 cartons of Lux soap, 50 cartons of Gino tin tomatoes, 4 bales of mosquito nets, and 47 blankets.

The other human angle included seeing the three brand new babies (2 girls, 1 boy) born in the refugee camp. I felt it was apropos to meet the families that these children were born into. Mr. & Mrs. Okuchukwu hail from Akara-Obodo in Ndokwa East LGA and gave birth to a bouncing baby girl. Interestingly enough, although Mrs. Patricia Onyia Okuchukwu was deaf & dumb, smiles were all over her face when she witnessed the largess of Midwestern Oil & Gas (MWOG). Their situation was heightened by the fact that the father of the child, Mr. Okuchukwu, a builder was now unemployed and asked for us to assist him in getting a job so that he could fend for his family. The second girl born in the refugee camp was to Mr. & Mrs. Adanibe of Akara-Etiti also in Ndokwa East LGA. The only boy born in the camp was to Mr. & Mrs. Duke Oputa from Inyi in Ndokwa East LGA. He was born on October 9, 2012.It should be noted that birth of children at flood refugee camps, although uncommon, also happened in other camps, including in Isoko Area the same week.

I felt it was also important to get a historical perspective on Midwestern Oil & Gas. Apparently in 2003, the Federal Government of Nigeria offered a mining license to Midwestern Oil & Gas. Even though the company did not start obtaining oil from the ground for years, it immediately engaged in massive employment of indigenes, extensive rural electrification, projects, and provision of health care facilities. They did not stop there, but went further to dole out scholarships to over 40 students in primary, secondary & tertiary institutions and empower over 90 beneficiaries of different skills acquisition in vulcanization, electrification, fashion designing, building material trade, computer/ICT skills & much more. So, based on their antecedents as one of the best companies in Corporate Social responsibility (CSR), it was not surprising that they came to the rescue of the thousands left homeless in the very same community they were engaged in business.

We are issuing a clarion call to companies and individuals all over the State to come to the aid of the flood victims as was done by Midwestern Oil & Gas. In fact, companies that have benefitted so much from our natural resources should be the first to run to the aid of their host communities. Let us not depend on the government alone, but rather be our proverbial brother's (and sister's) keepers. Together, we can help ameliorate the plight of those victimized by this natural (but man accelerated) disaster.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Prof. Alex O. Atawa Akpodiete, Esq. and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Prof. Alex O. Atawa Akpodiete, Esq.