Port Harcourt — Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, on Thursday, disclosed that 60percent of COVID-19 cases in the state, are connected to activities of oil companies’ personnel.
Governor Wike speaking when the management of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, called for co-operation from oil multinationals operating in the state, in the fight against Covid-19.
The governor explained that it is for this reason that the state government has insisted that oil workers coming into the state must be tested to confirm their corona virus status.
Wike who noted that crude oil and gas remain the mainstay of the nation’s economy, explained that the state government’s actions are not targeted at anybody or organisation.
He recalled that recently the Nigeria Airforce Base, Port Harcourt also quarantined fourteen oil workers out which three tested positive.
“It serves no one’s interest to deny any cooperate body or those on essential duty from carrying out their job, but there must be cooperation for the benefit of everyone and the safety of the lives of the people of the state.
“With oil being the main stay of the Nigeria’s economy, exploration must go on, because without it we that is in this part of the country will find it difficult to function. But 60percent of the Covid-19 cases in Rivers State are connected to activities of oil companies personnel.
“14 oil workers who came in from a rig yesterday are presently isolated at the Airforce base, as three of them have tested positive for Covid-19.
“My concern is that companies should always notify government of workers they are bringing into the state, so that our health officials can monitor them.
“So all that we are saying is that we should work together. But people bring in politics that Rivers State is difficult, they don’t want any oil exploration, that is because people want to play politics.
“People say we don’t want foodstuff and livestock to come into the State. That is not correct. What we are saying is that human beings should not be hidden with these items.”
On actions being taken in Rivers State Governor Wike said he wouldn’t wait for the pandemic to get to the level where people die daily in the state before it is taken seriously.
He said to reduce the risks to Rivers residents, the names and itinerary of oil company personnel coming into the state has to be submitted to enable the state’s health team interface with them.
Earlier, the Managing Director of Mobil, Mr. Udobong Ntia, commended the State Governor for measures put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID 19 in the state, particularly the increase in testing.
Ntia who donated RNA COVID-19 testing machine to the Rivers State Government, assured the Governor of the company’s commitment to support his effort in providing safety and good health to the people of the state.
“We share the actions you have taken which we also took complementary actions in our facility to ensure we can protect lives. We have implemented rigorous measures to ensure our facilities are protected.”
The Managing Director of Mobil went on to outline benefits of Mobil’s activities in Rivers State, to include having a fabrication yard in the state, regular payment of taxes, ground rent and tenement rates.