By Onyebuchi Sampson
Construction giants, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited, in a unique corporate social responsibility initiative, have collaborated and rebuilt the historic Bonny Consulate Building in the ancient Bonny Kingdom.
The partnership began two years earlier when both corporations came together to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at Grand Bonny to commence reconstruction of the historic building.
At the project commissioning ceremony, both Managing Directors of Julius Berger and the NLNG, Dr Lars Richter and Dr Philip Mshelbila respectively, celebrated the good relationship between the companies and Bonny community.
Richter, who described the project as far-reaching in significance, said it has the potential to boost the prominence of Bonny Island.
He recalled that way back in the 15th century, Bonny was a major international trading post, which over time has transformed into a central hub renowned for natural gas exploration and production in Nigeria.
Richter traced the relationship between Julius Berger and the Grand Bonny Kingdom to the mid-1990s when as a major contractor, the company was entrusted with the development of infrastructural work for NLNG’s first liquefied natural gas plant on Bonny Island.
Since entering the Island, Julius Berger, he added, has “continuously and harmoniously working on significant projects on the Island, including most recently, the construction of the Bodo-Bonny Road, which shall soon be the first road link into Bonny Island, and which, upon completion, will catalyze the success of the Island and the greater advancement of the Niger Delta.”
Speaking further, Richter said the partnership and the reconstruction of the Bonny Consulate building, has provided Julius Berger with the opportunity to deepen its CSR efforts and contribute towards preserving the rich history of the Island, by “applying our know-how and expertise for the development of a purposeful building infrastructure.” With brimming professional confidence, the Julius Berger Managing Director added.
The aim, he emphasised, is to ensure the greatest integrity in restoring the memory of the original consulate building, while also delivering a highly functioning structure that futuristically stands to support the aspirations of His Royal Majesty, to diversify the economy of the Grand Bonny Kingdom through tourism.
Dr Richter on behalf of the Board and the management of Julius Berger, thanked NLNG for their collaboration, which he said: “stands strong and proud to support the continued development of Bonny Island.”
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, ably represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr (Mrs) Ipalibo Harry Banigo, extolled the developmental partnership, which is a timely, qualitative and with exemplary professionalism and show of respect for communal values, successfully delivered the Bonny Consulate Building as desirable.
His Royal Majesty King Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple III, JP, CON, Perekule XI, the Amayanabo of Grand Bonny Kingdom, the chairman of the Bonny Council of Chiefs, Chief (Ambassador) Claude Dagogo-Wilcox, the Managing Director of the NLNG and Dr Philip Mshelbila, were part of dignitaries, who attended the commissioning.