The Federal Government has been asked to probe the disregard for rules on COVID-19 prevention by oil giant, Chevron.
The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) said the decision to lodge 100 of its officials in a private hotel in Warri after their return from abroad constitutes a great risk to the Nigerian public health and security.
HEDA Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, in a statement on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 said the action of Chevron was a brazen assault on the integrity of Nigeria as a sovereign country.
“What Chevron did fail to comply with corporate responsibility. It undermines the public safety rules and appears to portray Chevron as seeing itself above the laws and regulations of Nigeria,” Suraju said.
According to him, the action of Chevron compromised Nigeria’s strategic security as it regards public health defence mechanism announced by the central and state governments.
“The Chevron as a corporate entity, it’s responsible officials and the management of the hotel responsible for this assault on Nigerian laws should be made to account for their misdeeds. Nigeria need to prove that no private oil company is bigger than the country,” HEDA stated.
The group called on the Federal Government through the Ministry of Justice to institute a probe into the incidence.
Suraju said it was necessary to know to what extent the health of the hotel workers and those living in the neighbourhood had been compromised.
“We call on the Federal Government to institute a probe panel to determine the degree and extent that public safety has been compromised by Chevron. This has to be done to prevent future reoccurrence,” Suraju said.
Chevron in media reports was accused of isolating 100 of its officials in Cyprian Hotels and Suites, a private hotel located in Warri. The workers were suspected to have been exposed to COVID-19 following days of holidays abroad.
The Federal Government’s rule is that suspected COVID-19 patients be placed in government designated isolation centres for ease of monitoring and tracking.
The hotel in Warri is said to be owned by a retired Inspector General of Police who was said to have forced his workers to return to work and attend to the Chevron workers, thereby exposing them, their families and the entire state to possible infections.
The workers are said to have expressed deep worry about the cost associated with attending to the 100 Chevron staff.
Legal Adviser to the hotel, Mr Omuli Iwere, had said none of the workers exhibited COVID-19 symptoms.
Chevron had confirmed placing its staff under quarantine in Warri contrary to the rules of the Federal Government, National Centre for Disease Control and the state’s Ministry of Health guidelines.