Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has described the coronavirus as a pandemic that has gone beyond a health crisis.
He said the pandemic could create social, economic and political crises and cause serious distortions in the Nigerian society.
Diri stated this on Saturday at the inauguration of a 200-bed medical facility initiated by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company and its joint venture partners sited in Bayelsa to cover the South-South region and combat COVID-19.
In a statement by his Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, the governor also described the COVID-19 pandemic as the defining global health predicament of our time and the greatest challenge faced in several generations.
Diri said, “Countries are under lockdown. Travel is severely restricted. Traditional havens are compromised. If this episode has taught us any fundamental lesson, it is that those of us in positions should effect positive change deliberately and urgently.
“On our part, the Bayelsa State Government took proactive actions to strengthen surveillance at our boundaries with neighbouring states to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into our state. With the diligence of the state taskforce on COVID-19, which I chair, and the cooperation of the citizens, we were largely successful in this quest.” the governor explained.
Diri, who commended the company and its partners for the project, said the event was not only significant but also restated and demonstrated the necessary co-operation and social responsibility that must exist for the oil and gas industry as well as other businesses across the country.
Also speaking, the Minister of Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, said the Nigerian oil and gas industry had embarked on an industry-wide collaborative and prevention initiative to combat the pandemic under the leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Sylva said the three key areas in alignment with the ongoing Federal Government efforts to cut the pandemic through the presidential task force include the provision of medical consumables, deployment of logistics and in-patient support system and the delivery of medical infrastructure, which amounted to $68m (about N28bn).