Public Services Provided to Communities

EDUCATION:

Neither the Ministry of Education in Delta State nor the Ministry of Education in Bayelsa State has developed a system for providing an adequate number of qualified teachers to riverine communities. Respondents from all 5 Delta State communities identified “lack of teachers” as the biggest education problem facing their community. Although Bayelsa State respondents also identified lack of teachers as a significant education problem, it was clear from the responses that Bayelsa State riverine communities also suffer from a severe lack of infrastructure (school buildings and teachers’ quarters) and teaching aids for its children.

School buildings and teachers’ quarters constructed in Bayelsa State were sponsored primarily by the oil companies, with the exception of one secondary school constructed by State Government. As shown in charts in the Citizen Report Card on Good Governance and the Citizen Report Card on Infrastructure/Development, significant variation exists between government’s relationship with communities in Delta State versus Bayelsa State.

HEALTH:

The Ministries of Health in Delta State and Bayelsa State were successful in performing immunizations for the children in the riverine communities over the past year. Bayelsa State respondents were more confident about which tier of government sponsored the immunizations. Delta State communities were unclear about the sponsor. Survey answers from Delta State communities included local government, state government, federal government and Chevron.

Respondents in all 10 communities identified poor drinking water and mosquitos as the source of most illnesses, although the majority identified the construction of a fully-equipped health center as the solution to the problem.

70% of all communities believe that the Nigerian government bears sole responsibility for solving the healthcare issues of their communities (4 of the 5 Delta State communities and 3 of the 5 Bayelsa State communities). The remaining 3 or 30% of the communities believe that the Nigerian government and the oil companies bear equal responsibility.

DRINKING WATER:

2 of the 5 Delta State communities have access to clean water for drinking from the cooling systems of the nearby oil companies. Citizens in the remaining 3 Delta State communities and all 5 of the Bayelsa State communities noted serious illnesses related to drinking impure water, particularly during the dry season. Efforts to render impure water “safer” for drinking include (1) adding alum, (2) boiling the water, (3) allowing time for the heavy particles to settle naturally in a bucket before drinking, and (4) adding lemon juice and salt. Some respondents stated that they simply drink the water and hope for the best.

Over the past year, no one from the Ministry of the Environment or Health in Delta State has visited the communities to test the water or provide solutions.

Over the past year, no one from the Ministry of the Environment or Health in Bayelsa State has visited the communities to test the water or provide solutions.

Over the past year, the oil companies tested the water in 80% of the Delta State communities surveyed.

Over the past year, the oil companies did not test the water in any of the Bayelsa State communities surveyed.

100% of all survey respondents believe that solving the drinking water problem is the joint responsibility of the government and the oil companies.

SEWAGE/HUMAN WASTE:

100% of the communities surveyed noted that human waste is present in the flood waters surrounding their homes during the raining season as (1) the water brings the feces back from the waterside and (2) people do not go to the bush to defecate when the area is flooded.

Great variation exists, however, between Delta State and Bayelsa State survey responses about who is responsible for fixing the sewage/human waste problem. Local and state governments were identified by Delta State respondents as being 100% responsible for addressing the sewage issue. In Bayelsa State, however, all five communities believed that individuals and communities play the most important role. As such, Bayelsa State riverine communities may be more amenable to contributing local labor to a public/private partnership related to sewage and take personal and community action if more education about personal strategies for dealing with human waste was made available.

In terms of infrastructure as a solution, 100% of respondents believe that the Nigerian government and the oil companies should bear equal responsibility for providing more public toilets.

Over the past year, no one from the Ministry of the Environment or Health in Delta State has visited the communities surveyed to discuss the issue of human waste/sewage.

Over the past year, no one from the Ministry of the Environment or Health in Bayelsa State has visited the communities surveyed to discuss the issue of human waste/sewage.

Over the past year, no one from the oil companies has visited the communities surveyed to discuss the issue of human waste/sewage except the Iduwini Cluster/GMOU in Bayelsa State.

PUBLIC ELECTRICITY:

2 of the 5 Delta State communities have free and relatively consistent public electricity provided by the oil companies.

2 of the 5 Bayelsa State communities have free and relatively consistent public electricity provided by the oil companies. Note: Benikrukru in Delta State is the only community with 24-hour electricity supplied by an oil company. The community received the electricity after direct public protest.

1 of the 5 Bayelsa State communities provides a small amount of electricity through a community-owned generator. Availability of steady current is hindered by the frequent unavailability of fuel and lack of proper maintenance.

50% of all the communities are without any public electricity. According to the respondents, this contributes to the spoiling of food, greater exposure to mosquitos, and the inability to read or do business after sundown.

The use of solar power is being harnessed in one project in Agge Palm Bush that is sponsored by an oil company’s GMOU through the Kou Cluster Development Board. Started in May 2009, the Solar Pipe-borne Water Project is nearing completion.

Even among those communities that receive steady electricity from the oil companies, all communities believe that the primary responsibility for providing electricity to the communities lies with the Federal Government.

Over the past year, no one from the Ministry of Energy and Public Works in Delta or Bayelsa States has visited the communities surveyed.

COMMUNICATION STRUCTURES:

a. GSM Technology.

4 of the 5 communities in Delta State use cell phones. GSM reception is frequently unstable, however, and requires community members to locate a strategic spot for sending and receiving information.

All 5 of the Bayelsa State communities use cell phones locally, although the GSM reception is frequently unstable.

b. Radio Reception and Programming.

Respondents from all 10 communities listen to the radio, although there is variation in whether they listen alone (more common in communities with public electricity) or with others.

Radio stations that reach riverine communities in Delta State, according to respondents, include: Radio Delta, DBS, Edo Broadcasting, and Independent Radio. Favorite radio programmes include: Delta Abroad, Hello Hello Programme, People Talk to People, Good Morning Delta, and Daddy King’s High Life.

Radio stations that reach riverine communities in Bayelsa State, according to respondents, include: Radio Delta and Radio Bayelsa. Favorite radio programmes include: No So We Seem, Radio Bayelsa news, state news, musicals and sports programmes.

Respondents believe that the process and cost associated with securing a state radio license prevents the spread of community radio stations.

c. Television Reception and Ownership.

8 of the 10 communities have television reception.

There is a strong correlation between television ownership and stability of electricity. In Benikrukru (Delta State), which has 24-hour free electricity, nearly everyone in the community owns a tv. In Tisun (Delta State), which has no public electricity, no one owns a tv.

Television stations that reach riverine communities in Delta State, according to respondents, include: ITV, EBS, NTA, DBS, and DRTV.

Television stations that reach riverine communities in Bayelsa State, according to respondents, include: Delta State TV, DRTV, NTA Bayelsa and GLTV.

CREDIT/FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS:

Respondents in all 10 communities borrow from money lenders and cooperatives.

In 2009, each of the 5 Delta State communities was visited by a representative from an oil company or the state to talk about micro-credit schemes. Shell and Chevron programmes specifically targeted women and, more generally, the community as a whole. Government micro-credit programmes heavily targeted community leaders. Coastline Bank spoke to traders and fishermen.

3 of the 5 Bayelsa State communities were visited by Shell/SPDC representatives promoting micro-credit schemes and specifically targeting women’s groups.

None of the Bayelsa State communities was visited by a government representative about micro-credit schemes.

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