The ongoing efforts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)-led Oil and Gas Sector coalition against COVID-19 was bolstered on Thursday in Lagos with the handing over of six ambulances and medical consumables to the six Southwest states of Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo and Ondo.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, presented the items on behalf of the NNPC and the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG) comprising 26 indigenous oil companies.
The items were received by the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, who is a member of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Sylva said the donation was part of the N21 billion intervention initiative on the COVID-19 pandemic by the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry.
According to him, apart from the six ambulances, the states would also get thousands of testing kits, Personal Protective Equipment including face masks, body suits, hand gloves and sanitisers.
He said similar donations had earlier been made by the Oil and Gas Sector in Abuja, Rivers and Bayelsa states, adding that collaboration was needed to defeat the novel Coronavirus.
The minister announced that similar items will also be delivered to Kano and Katsina States, stressing that in line with the Oil and Gas Intervention Initiative’s plan of establishing permanent and sustainable medical infrastructure in each of the geopolitical zones in the coming days, the industry would be conducting a groundbreaking activity for the building of emergency and infectious diseases hospitals in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
“The gesture will be extended to all states of the federation in line with the mandate of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 within the coming weeks,’’ Sylva said in a statement by Dr Kennie Obateru, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC and emailed to Persecondnews.
On his part, Dr. Mamora commended the initiative of the Oil and Gas Sector in the fight against COVID-19.
“I thank you very much on behalf of the PTF and I know that posterity will be kind to you for standing up to be counted during this critical period.
“These donations will help fortify our healthcare system. Nigeria and Nigerians will not forget you for your noble effort”, he said.
Speaking on behalf of the South est governors, Sanwo-Olu said the donation would be used to support the critical infrastructure that had posed a challenge to the healthcare system.
“I want to assure you that we will put it to judicious use and we will ensure that all the items are delivered to their respective states. They will go immediately to the front line and will be deployed to ensure that our people get well and come out of this pandemic alive.”
IPPG Chairman, Mr Ademola Adeyemi-Bero, said the group comprising indigenous oil firms, was working towards procuring 5 million face masks, 100, 000 test kits, 12 ambulances, ventilators, beddings and overalls for healthworkers.
He said the group would also donate one isolation unit in a location to be advised by the NNPC and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and molecular laboratories in some parts of the country.
According to him, IPPG members were also observing the health protocols put in place by government in their facilities in order to contain the virus.