NewsReport gathered that in the Akwa Ibom local government areas of Onna and Eastern Obolo, the NNPC Exploration and Production Limited (NEPL) on Wednesday distributed N8.4 million to 84 “spud infants.”
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the company’s Mother and Child Community Support Programme is what gave rise to the “Spud Baby” gesture.
The grant is part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme.
The company’s Managing Director, Mr. Ali Zarah, advised nursing mothers on the need to immunize their children to protect them from killer diseases and reduce infant mortality.
Represented by the Team Lead, Community Relations, Mr. Doubra Luwei, Zarah lauded the Federal Government for the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) which, according to him, boosted development in the communities.
Zarah also said that the firm would begin the sensitization to the PIA process in the communities hosting its operations.
The coordinator of the Programme, Michael Akinremi, who gave an overview of the programme, also advised mothers to always go to the hospital for immunization.
Akinremi said that the officials of the company worked with health workers in various health centers in the communities to pick the benefiting children and their mothers.
The paramount ruler of Eastern Obolo, Chief John Etetor, commended the firm for its impactful corporate social responsibility in the area.
“I want to appreciate the company for what they are doing. God provided the resources that attracted the company to my Local Government Area and other areas in Akwa Ibom. Therefore, God will continue to bless you,” he said.
The paramount ruler of Onna, Chief Raymond Inyang, who was represented by Chief Robinson Inyang, urged the oil firm to make the programme an annual event.
“I want to appeal that the Spud baby programme be made a yearly event. The company should remember the children at all times,” he said.
In a brief lecture on immunization, the Health Director, of Primary Health Centre, Eastern Obolo, Mrs. Atim Ulo, said that there were several cases of measles as many mothers failed to immunize their children against the disease.
She said, “It is good to receive immunization. Please, we appeal to you to protect the child from these diseases and prevent the spread and help the family from going to the hospital always.”
Mrs. Freke Akpan, who is in charge of Onna Health Centre, reiterated the importance of immunization, adding that the Federal Government had spent a lot of money on it.
“Avail yourself of this great opportunity. Visit the nearest hospital for immunization as it is the best investment you can give to your child.
“Make use of this service. Immunization reduces infant mortality rate. Immunization helps in increasing productivity,” she said.
In their various responses, the beneficiaries, who thanked the oil firm for the gesture, appealed to the firm to give employment opportunities to their spouses so they to fend for their families. (NAN)