militant gun

militant gun‘The wider aim of social responsibility is to create higher and higher standards of living, while preserving the profitability of the corporation or the integrity of the institution, for people both within and outside these entities’ (Michael Hopkins, 2011).

The state of security in Nigeria today is undeniably precarious; the effects of militancy in the Niger Delta are just becoming apparent as there is now reduced foreign investment in the country’s oil and gas industry as a result of the vandalisation of pipelines amongst other security issues. Escalating occurrences of sectarian violence in areas of Northern and Central Nigeria, instability and trepidation has become a common feature of everyday life for many of our citizens. This gloomy outlook is not one often associated with the Nigerian people and requires examination as to the causes behind this pessimistic movement. Bad governance, corruption and the marginalization of pockets of the Nigerian society are just a few of the reasons being held responsible, both by Nigerians themselves and international spectators.

Developed countries, such as France and the United Kingdom, have not been without their fair share of social unrest in recent years. The UK experienced its own major bout of disorder and instability only in the summer of 2011. Widespread rioting broke out across the country’s capital over the death of a local man killed during a confrontation with Metropolitan police officers. The uprising quickly spread to other districts and towns throughout England, causing mass civil disobedience, looting, and arson.

The causes of the both immediate and long term have been the subject of media and academic debate. Several speculations have emerged as to what the likely contributory factors might be and range from socio-economic causes focusing on unemployment and spending cuts, to social media, gang culture and criminal opportunism. However, former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair said at the time that the riots were not caused by a broken society, but due to a group of young, alienated, disaffected youth who are outside social mainstream and who live in a culture at odds with any canons of proper behaviour, he narrated that this is found in virtually every developed nation, stating poverty and the growing gap between rich and poor as credible causative factors.

The current situation in Nigeria is not too dissimilar. We are faced with a large section of our youth society isolated and perturbed and people are becoming disconcerted with the prospect of a flourishing economy in the future. Without adequate governance practices and a lack of prevalent education, it does not seem too cynical to fear a revolt of today’s youth in the near future.

So far, Corporate Social Investment does not play an important role in Nigeria, and has not been the subject of a wider public discussion. There are only a small percentage of business society and the political community that have recognised that CSI can be an essential component of sustainable economic activity. In addition to benefiting society, Corporate Social Responsibility activities are often undertaken as a way of promoting a company’s image which may help to breakdown the barriers between the country’s wealthy individuals and the rest of the nation. We must remember that Nigeria experiences a rate of poverty of over 80% and this is undoubtedly a cause of the growth in social unrest.

Nigerian policymakers, including national and local officials, must implement the right policies that will have the strongest possible impact on Nigeria’s long-term economic growth for the widest array of its citizens. While many of the current policies being pursued are likely to benefit Nigeria and significantly contribute to economic development in some areas, the strategies seem to neglect essential long-term needs, important segments of the population, and the targeting of essential sectors leading to a diversified economy. Nigerians should learn from the successes and failures of other States’ CSI programmes, whiles also learning from their own experiences.   

 

CASE STUDY

The Prime Atlantic Example.

Falck Prime Atlantic (FPAL), one of the companies under the Prime Atlantic Group, formed as a joint venture company between Prime Atlantic Limited (PAL) and Falck Nutec, Denmark (now known as Falck Safety Services) was incorporated for the purpose of providing Safety, Survival and Emergency Response Training and Consultancy services in Nigeria and West Africa.

Prime Atlantic Limited’s OPITO accredited Training Facility is located in Ipara, Ogun State and services a sizeable percentage of the oil and gas (and offshore) market in Nigeria. Prime Atlantic is dedicated to empowerment through education and employment in its host community. The Group which now has in excess of 500 employees dedicated a portion of its earnings to sustainable development of the Ipara Community (and its other host communities).

It is important that Corporate Social Investment is pursued strategically and benefits the company funding initiatives as well as positively impacting on the lives of people the society in which it operates. Please see the PAL example below;

 

Benefits of sustainable development through education to Prime Atlantic Limited;

  • Brand recognition  – this also rubs off on all the other companies in the Group
  • Training of the next generation who may also be Falck Prime Atlantic staff
  • Good positioning with the host government
  • Good relationship with the host community, which is very important for our business as we have many expatriate staff and delegates who visit the Facility frequently
  • Research and development, talent and recruitment

 

Benefits of sustainable development through education to Prime Atlantic Limited;

  • A better educated and skilled population
  • Greater prospects of decent employment by the companies in the host community and others outside Ogun State
  • Less opportunity for the youth to engage in criminal activity; safer environment which will attract a higher caliber of investors
  • For land owners, there will be a higher premium placed on the value of land, which increased development, higher skilled labour force which will lead to better investment in the area

 

*Oladimeji Belo is an experienced energy professional with a leading oil servicing company

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