By Nathan Nwakamma
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)-Agip Joint Venture, on Saturday inaugurated the construction of a 200-bed capacity infectious diseases hospital for the South-South Zone.
Speaking at the event, Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum, said that the project was part of the Nigerian Oil Industry Coalition led by the NNPC to support the nation’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sylva said that the oil industry was contributing about N21 billion worth of support provided through the internal procurement processes of contributing companies.
Sylva said that Bayelsa was considered a suitable site for the project given its pioneering role in the history of the region and the contribution of about 40 per cent to onshore crude oil output.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, said that the Corporation was working with its Joint Venture partners, across the upstream, Midstream and Downstream Sectors to support the health sector.
He said that the NNPC-led intervention had allocated the N21 billion worth of support to various International Oil Companies, Indegenous operators with Joint Venture stakes across the oil sector.
Kyari explained that the infectious diseases hospital sited on 1,586 square meter space would serve as zonal isolation centre for the COVID-19 and would serve as reference hospital for communicable diseases after the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his speech, Mr Lorenzo Fiorillo, Managing Director, Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), said that the outbreak of the corona virus had put a lot of strain globally on health care systems and personnel.
Fiorillo who spoke through Mr Macwon Jitubo, Head of Community Relations, NAOC, said that the company remained sympathetic to the threat posed by the coronavirus resulting to millions of deaths worldwide.
“Eni, the parent company of NAOC considers people to be at the core of its culture and fundamental to its business, aware that creation of reciprocal values is possible through the sharing of objectives.
“We are certain that the Oil and Gas industry as a whole shares in these values.
“It is for this reason that we are here today at this difficult period to perform the ceremony which will engender a valuable medical asset to the South South region of the country,” he said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa, who earlier applauded Sylva for attracting the project to Bayelsa performed the ground breaking ceremony with dignitaries.
Mr Chukwuemaka Nwajiobi, Minister of State for Education, represented the Chairman of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to Government of Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha at the occasion. (NAN)