Worried by the dangerous rise of Covid-19 cases in Bonny LGA, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on Monday, had a joint meeting with Oil Majors operating in Bonny Local Government Area.
The meeting had in attendance the Management of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company, led by the Managing Director of Nigeria LNG Ltd, Mr Tony Attah, SPDC led by the Deputy Managing Director of SPDC, Mr Simon Roddy, and Exon Mobil led by the Executive Director of Exonn Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Udobong Ntia.
Addressing the meeting Governor Wike said from the present trend, If urgent steps are not taken “Bonny is likely to be the epicenter of the pandemic in the state.”
He said the state is not against oil exploration but neccessary precaution and public health safety protocols must be observed for the safety of the people of the state. He informed the meeting that over 60% of Covid cases in Rivers State were related to oil companies and their staff.
Governor Wike said he called a joint meeting of the companies so they could all share ideas and forge a way forward. He explained that results from Bonny indicate the growing presence of Covid-19 within the Community and among LNG staff and there was need for all stakeholders to work together to reduce the pandemic.
Giving a brief on the suituation in Bonny the Rivers State Commisioner for Health, Professor Princewill Chike revealed that the Minstry of Health’s Public Health team carried out an investigation into a series of mysterious deaths in Bonny LGA.
He said from samples taken from LNG staff, Public Hospitals, Private Hospitals and Passers by ” the interim results indicate the preponderance of positive cases for Covid-19 virus infection” the investigative team also noticed there was a lack of social distancing, use of face masks and necessary hygienic processes within the LGA. The Public Health team concluded there was need for an ambulance boat and a test/treatment Center to serve Bonny LGA.
After a brief recess which the Companies used to meet, Mr Tony Attah who spoke on behalf of the Companies revealed they had agreed to set up a test center and a 30 bed isolation/treatment center at the General Hospital in Bonny. He underscored the need for awareness and getting the community out of denial as the commuinity participation is critical to successfully combat the pandemic.
They also agreed to the setting up of hand washing facilities across Bonny town while the State Government would drive a community sensitization campaign through the Amayanabo of Bonny and His Council of Chiefs to the Community Development Committees down to residents of the LGA.