By Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja and Peter Uzoho
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)-led Oil and Gas Industry Intervention Initiative on COVID-19 over the weekend began the third phase of their support programme with the ground breaking ceremony for a permanent Emergency and Infectious Diseases Hospital for the South-south Region in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
NNPC in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, stated that the event flagged–off the plan by the intervention group to deliver lasting medical infrastructure across the six-geopolitical zones in the Country.
According to the statement, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, who spoke at the event, affirmed that the project was part of the Nigerian oil industry coalition initiative led by the NNPC to support the nation’s efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
He reiterated that the oil industry was contributing about N21billion worth of support provided through internal procurement processes of contributing companies.
Sylva said that Bayelsa State was considered a suitable site for the project given its pioneering role in the history of Oil and Gas in the Country and its current contribution of about 40 per cent to onshore crude oil output.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, who spoke through the corporation’s Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Mr. Bala Wunti, who is also the coordinator of the initiative in the petroleum industry, disclosed that the corporation was working with its Joint Venture partners across the Upstream, Midstream and Downstream sectors to support the health sector.
Kyari said that the NNPC-led intervention had allocated the N21billion-worth of support to various International Oil Companies, Indigenous operators with Joint Venture stakes across the oil sector.
He explained that the infectious diseases hospital to be sited on a 1,586 square metre-space would serve as zonal isolation centre for COVID-19 and would serve as a referral hospital for communicable diseases after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement also quoted the Managing Director of Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Mr. Lorenzo Fiorillo, as saying at the event that the outbreak of COVID-19 disease had put a lot of strain on healthcare systems and personnel globally.
Fiorillo who spoke through NAOC’s Head of Community Relations, Mr. Macwon Jitubo, said that the company remained sympathetic to help navigate the threat posed by COVID-19 pandemic, which he explained, had resulted in millions of deaths worldwide.
He said the project being delivered in Bayelsa State would engender a valuable medical asset to the South South region of the Country.
The statement added that Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, who earlier applauded Sylva for attracting the project to the state, performed the ground-breaking ceremony in company of other dignitaries.