Chukwudi Nweje, Lagos
The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre has asked the Federal Government to probe oil giant Chevron over allegedly endangering public safety.
Chevron is reported to have recently lodged 100 of its staff in Cyprian Hotels and Suites, a private hotel in Warri, Delta State after they returned from abroad.
Though the Chevron workers were suspected to have been exposed to COVID-19, legal adviser to the hotel Mr Omuli Iwere is quoted as saying none of the returning workers exhibited COVID-19 symptoms.
HEDA in a statement issued by its Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, however, said lodging the Chevron staff at a private hotel violated the rules of the Federal Government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Delta State Ministry of Health guidelines that suspected COVID-19 patients be placed in government-designated isolation centres.
He described the action of Chevron as a brazen assault on the integrity of Nigeria as a sovereign country and added that the action of the oil company constitutes a great risk to Nigerian public health and security as it compromises both the Federal and Delta State government’s strategic security and public health defence mechanism as Nigeria battles to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“What Chevron did failed 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. 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.
“Chevron is a corporate entity, its officials and the management of the hotel responsible for this assault on Nigerian laws should be made to account for their misdeeds. Nigeria needs to prove that no private oil company is bigger than the country,” the group said in its statement.