By Monsuru Olowoopejo
The Federal Government’s appeal to individuals and corporate organisations for support on fight against coronavirus has began yielding results with approval of additional N10 billion by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its partners in the oil and gas sector of the country.
Also to flatten the curve of the virus, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, handed over five ambulances to the Federal Government on behalf of NNPC and its partners, to combat coronavirus pandemic in the Country.
It was gathered Secretary to Government of Federation and Chairman, Presidential Taskforce on Control of Coronavirus (Covid-19), Boss Mustapha, received the medical on behalf of the government and the five ambulances marked first installment of industry collective donation of N11 billion which had increased to N21 billion after additional N10 billion was donated to support fight against the pandemic on Saturday.
While handing over the facilities, Sylva, in a statement signed by NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, stated at the ceremony that the prevailing time was far from being normal, saying it was a time that called for collective efforts.
Sylva further disclosed at the event that the support for the cause was an ongoing one, assuring that whatever was received afterwards would be delivered to the committee.
He said that the Oil and Gas Industry, under the leadership of NNPC, had come together to contribute their quota to the effort to stemming the pandemic.
Mustapha, while responding, commended NNPC and the entire Oil and Gas Industry for the maximum support extended to the Federal Government in the campaign against the pandemic.
Conducting the two top government officials around the 190-bed facility donated by the Petroleum Industry, NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari hinted that the Thisday Dome, Abuja that would house the bed-spaces was donated by yet another of NNPC partners, the Sahara Group.
He said other NNPC’s partners, local and international, continued to implement projects capable of lasting impact in their host communities as well as across the nation’s geographical zones, describing the feat as the hallmark of “Good Corporate Citizenship”.
“Aside from consignments of medical consumables and logistics facilities, we are embarking on construction of at least two permanent hospitals and world-class diagnostics centres in each of the geopolitical zones in the country. All these are over and above our regular social investments through various CSR initiatives”, Kyari added.
The Group Managing Director explained that the donation was collaborative, drawing support from the Energy Group, the private sector and a Chinese company, CCECC, to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
He disclosed that the 190-bed facility would be ready for use in two weeks’ time, stating that donations were in kind, that is, respective going concerns would provide the medical materials pledged following their companies’ procurement procedures.
Also at another NNPC property in Utako District of Abuja, Kyari announced that the corporation had set aside a 60-bed capacity facility of the property to support the fight against the pandemic.
The NNPC GMD said the facility, located in the heart of Abuja, would equally be ready in the next two weeks, to fast-track the country exclusion from list of countries battling with coronavirus.
He explained that the Utako facility would be equipped with oxygen generating plants, ventilators and other medical logistics that would support the Federal Government ongoing fight against the spread of coronavirus pandemic, saying that it has 10 Intensive Care Units that would serve as back up to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Isolation unit in Gwagwalada.
The NNPC helmsman commiserated with families of those who lost their loved ones to the pandemic, saying he was hopeful that the Industry efforts would go a long way to stemming the spread of the disease.