Ford Foundation provided support for a workshop organised by New Nigeria Foundation (NNF) on the theme, “Contemporary Community Engagement Models in the Oil and Gas Sector: Lessons for other Sectors”. The workshop held at the Amber Residence in Ikeja, Lagos from 2nd to 3rd November 2017. It was organized to draw useful lessons from the community engagement initiatives deployed by the oil and gas companies in response to the crises associated with their operations in the Niger Delta region. This became necessary following years of violent conﬂicts involving communities and companies, especially those in the extractive sector, due to the negative eﬀects of company operations on their host communities. Also, government is currently showing a lot of interest in diversifying the economy, with emphasis on the mining and agricultural sectors. The mining sector especially, has the capacity to generate a lot of resources for the nation. However, unsafe practices by companies operating in communities around the country could portend danger and trigger violent conﬂicts with unhappy host communities, similar to the experience between oil companies and communities in the Niger Delta. Against this background, the workshop was conceived, to learn from past initiatives that had recorded diﬀerent degrees of successes and failures, which could provide useful lessons for companies working in other sectors, such as the solid minerals sector.
The 2-day workshop aimed to intimate participants with diﬀerent corporate social investment models adopted by corporate organizations; discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the models for sustainable community development; provide insights into the impact of the models with respect to reducing in equality and promoting gender equity; and proﬀer ways of adapting lessons from the diﬀerent corporate social investment models to the solid minerals sector. In attendance were stakeholders from the extractive industries, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), civil society, media and government. Also present at the workshop were representatives of communities, regulatory and security agencies. Some of the dignitaries at the event were Mr. O’Seun Odewale, representative of the Honourable Minister for Mines and Steel Development; Mr. Wale Oluwo, Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources; Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry; Ms. Eva Kouka, Mr Tony Chan and Mr Paul Nwulu of Ford Foundation; Alhaji Shehu Sanni President of the Miners Association of Nigeria; and Mr. Brikinn Esimaje, General Manager, PGPA, Chevron Nigeria Limited. The Managing Director of New Nigeria Foundation, Prof. Obafemi Ajibola presented the welcome address; while remarks were made by Ms. Eva Kouka, and the two commissioners. The keynote address was delivered by Mr. O’Seun Odewale.
The workshop provided a unique opportunity for stakeholders from diﬀerent sectors to brainstorm on current challenges facing operators in the extractive sector. There was also an experience sharing session by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) on its community engagement model popularly known as the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU). The workshop ended with the expectation that operators in the solid minerals sector will adopt an inclusive business model that will promote peaceful co-existence and a good working relationship between companies and community stakeholders.