Uche Usim, Abuja
As the battle against the rampaging COVID-19 plague rages, the Women In Energy Network (WIEN), an apolitical and non-profit organisation, has lauded the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other stakeholders in the oil and gas sector for supporting the Federal Government through pooling N21 billion among other initiatives to ensure Nigeria wins the war.
The organisation also pledged to donate test kits and laboratory equipment as well as boost the testing capabilities of the government, saying the time for concerted efforts to crush the disease currently wreaking havoc across the globe was now.
The President of WIEN and Managing Director of Zigma Oil & Gas Limited, Mrs Funmi Ogbue, who gave the commendation in a statement reckoned that the Nigeria oil & gas industry under the leadership of the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mr Mele Kyari, recently embarked on an industry-wide collaborative initiative to combat the pandemic.
According to her, the support was anchored on the three thematic pillars. They are provision of medical consumables; deployment of logistics and in-patient support system and delivery of medical infrastructure, initially amounted to N11 billion but later scaled up to N21 billion.
According to her, the interventions were in addition to regular social investments through various Community Social Responsibility (CSR) projects the NNPC partners, local and international, have continued to implement in support of the national effort against the pandemic.
She said: “On our part, the Women in Energy Network (WIEN) and its members are doing a lot collectively and individually to join hearts and hands with NNPC and the Nigerian government to deal with COVID-19. We would encourage all women and women-groups to WIEN, do the same. This is not the time to lag behind as all hands need to be on deck to deal with this as a country.
“As the leading Women’s Association in the energy value chain, WIEN has pledged to the oil and gas industry humanitarian intervention initiative, to donate test kits and lab equipment as well as boost the testing capabilities of government, all of which we are currently working to deliver.
“Our members through their individual companies are making donations in consignments of medical consumables, logistics facilities as well as providing free food items.
“For instance, Zigma Oil & Gas which I lead as the Managing Director has been working on supplying medical equipment and doing advocacy for “clean hands.
“In these difficult times, my sincere hope is that our WIEN community and the country at large is safe and healthy and remains so as we move through COVID-19, low oil prices, and other present difficulties.
“WIEN is working to adapt to the current environment and to find ways to serve and benefit members now and in the “new normal” as it emerges,” she explained.
To achieve these goals, Ogbue said the body was working on hosting webinars and providing educational opportunities for our members and the public.
The Zigma boss adder that through the hosting of virtual events, WIEN hopes to continue providing members and the general public with networking, educational, and leadership opportunities at this time when most Nigerians are at home.
“As majority of the world’s children are currently out of school because of COVID-19 closures, our intervention also provides for continuing with the education of children and the youth as the impact of the current situation is expected to be widespread and devastating, particularly for women and girls.
“It is important to highlight that since the emergence of the novel coronavirus, women have played a central role in the fight against the pandemic as they comprise the bulk of the world’s frontline health workers, shouldering the burden of strenuous work and risking their lives.
“Women will likely be disproportionately affected in myriad ways, from the impact of school closures to a growing need for care of sick individuals at home and the resultant spikes in domestic violence.
“I am therefore calling on all relevant government authorities even at this time to make the welfare of our women-folk a priority and for Nigerians to protect our health care workers by staying home and staying safe.
“I encourage everyone to remain optimistic, to indulgently practice self-care as this time will surely pass”, she added.