Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its partners donated six ambulances and other medical consumables to the South-West states as part of efforts to contain the pandemic in the country.
The donation was made, on Thursday, in Lagos by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, on behalf of NNPC and the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), comprising of 26 indigenous oil companies.
The items donated to Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo and Ondo States were received in Lagos by the Minister of State for Health, Mr Olorunnimbe Mamora and Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Sylva said the donation was part of the N21 billion intervention initiative on the COVID-19 pandemic by the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry.
Sylva said apart from the six ambulances, the states would also get thousands of testing kits, Personal Protective Equipments including face masks, bodysuits, hand gloves and sanitisers.
He said similar donations had earlier been made by the oil and gas sector in Abuja, Rivers and Bayelsa, adding that collaboration was needed to defeat coronavirus.
According to him, 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.
Also, 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 Presidential Task Force (PTF) and I know that posterity will be kind on you for standing up to be counted during this critical period.
“These donations will help fortify our health care system. Nigeria and Nigerians will not forget you for this your noble effort,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the South-West governors, Sanwo-Olu said the donation would be used to support the critical infrastructure that was a challenge to the health care industry.
“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 made up of indigenous oil firms was working towards procuring five million face masks, 100,000 test kits, 12 ambulances, ventilators, beddings and overalls for health workers.
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 labs in some parts of the country.
According to him, IPPG members were also observing the health protocols put in place by the government in their facilities in order to contain the virus.
Earlier in his address of welcome, Mr Bala Wunti, Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, said the initiative of the oil and gas sector was based on informed business interest.
Wunti said: “If economic activities are down, there will be no need for oil and gas. We are at a crossroad today and that is why the industry made an informed decision to come together to do what is right to help Nigeria mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.”