How some oil firms compromise COVID-19 safety measures, by NUPENG
Udom’s aide backs salary cut for A’Ibom political office holders
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) yesterday blamed rising cases on oil workers infected with COVID-19 on comprise of safety standards by companies.
Chairman, Port Harcourt zone of NUPENG, Alex Agwanwor, said Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike’s revelation that oil workers were responsible for 60 per cent of recorded cases of COVID-19 was alarming.
Agwanwor stated that it was worrisome that oil workers have been recorded as the most infected in Rivers State, adding that prior to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state, the union put in place safety measures to ensure that oil workers were insulated from the disease, while carrying out their essential services
He noted that those running from oil rigs were testing positive because they were having contacts with expatriates from abroad and going to offshore oil facilities without testing to ascertain their COVID-19 status.
Agwanwor explained that if there had been testing centres in Rivers State before the measures put in place by the state government came into effect, some of these cases might have been detected earlier.
He accused some oil companies of been primarily obsessed by greed for profit maximisation, while ignoring the safety and health of their workers.Meanwhile, Enobong Uwah, who doubles as Chairman of Uyo Capital City Development Authority (UCCDA) and an aide to Governor Udom Emmanuel has described the state government’s decision to slash the salary of all political office holders by 20 per cent as a proactive step.
He made the assertion while fielding questions from newsmen on government decision on the above issue in Uyo yesterday, saying the governor’s pro-activeness led to him to set up the COVID19 Economic Reconstruction Committee headed by Professor Akpan Horgan Ekpo.
He noted that Udom’s move was a clear demonstration of his approach to contain and defeat the pandemic, adding that apart from the adequate precautionary measures put in place by the governor to prevent the spread of the pandemic, the salary slash for political appointees would free some funds to invest in critical socio-economic sectors of the state.
Uwah pointed out that the building of a Permanent Smart Infectious Diseases Isolation Centre at Ituk Mbang, also confirmed his commitment to comprehensively manage the envisaged negative socio-economic impacts the pandemic would likely to cause the entire world.
Governor Udom had earlier announced the 20 per cent salary cut for all political appointees in the state through Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem.