Shell Petroleum Development Company on Tuesday inaugurated the remodelled and upgraded Kolo General Hospital as part of the activities lined up to commemorate the discovery of oil in commercial quantity in Oloibiri, Bayelsa State.
Speaking at the event, Osagie Okunbor, the Managing Director of SPDC, said Oloibiri occupied a pride of place in the history of Nigeria’s oil and gas.
He said this necessitated the conception of Oloibiri Health Programme.
Okunbor said: “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 SPDC and Bayelsa since that discovery has grown with the expected footprints of our operations and social investments spread across the state.
“Amidst 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 the first phase of the OHP being inaugurated consisted of the remodelled Kolo General Hospital, a water treatment plant, medical laboratory equipment at the College of Health Technology, Otuogidi and the Dental Chair at the Demonstration Clinic, Otuogidi.
Governor Seriake Dickson said the intervention by SPDC complemented the efforts of his administration in the health sector.
Represented by his Deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd), Dickson applauded SPDC for the gesture and urged other oil firms operating in the state to emulate the company.
He said: “Let me appreciate SPDC and its partners for also prioritising healthcare in the state by initiating the OHP.
“This is a laudable development because it will go a long way in complementing the various steps and policies we have introduced to meet the health needs of our citizens in Ogbia local government area.”
Also, King Charles Owaba, the Paramount Ruler of Ogbia Kingdom, urged Shell to step up its efforts to ameliorate the adverse impact of oil exploration on the environment and people of the area.