- Seeks Redress In Seven Days
From Joseph Obukata (The New Diplomat’s N/Delta Correspondent)
The Akwa Ibom State Government has given ExxonMobil Oil Company a seven-day ultimatum to comply with stipulated COVID-19 guidelines or risk having all its quarantine centres in Akwa Ibom state shut down.
The threat was contained in a statement issued by the Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State COVID-19 Management Committee and Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem on Saturday, after meeting with Government House Press Corp in Uyo.
According to the Chairman, it has been observed that ExxonMobil, in operating its quarantine centres, has not followed the AKSG/NCDC/WHO laid down protocols for effective and efficient running of quarantine centres.
The breaches observed in ExxonMobil quarantine Centres, according to the COVID-19 Management Committee are capable of endangering the lives of not just the staff of ExxonMobil, but also the lives of the generality of Akwa Ibom people.
Dr. Ekuwem maintained that Akwa Ibom State Government cannot overlook the breaches by the oil multinational, as it could jeopardize the sustained and deliberate efforts of the Udom Emmanuel-led administration to curtail the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic to the barest minimum in the state.
The committee therefore believed that it was imperative for ExxonMobil to make professional adjustments, take appropriate precautions and liaise with the State Government where necessary for the efficient running of its quarantine centres in Akwa Ibom.
It would be recalled that during the lock down occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the corporate social responsibility of ExxonMobil was called to question when it donated two ambulances, 20 hospital beds and 10 very old used vehicles from its fleet to the state for use in contact tracing. The state government after evaluating the donated items, rejected the 10 vehicles and called on ExxonMobil to demonstrate good corporate citizenship by replacing them. As of the time of this report, the oil giant was yet to retrieve the used vehicles, neither has it replaced them with new ones.
The donated ambulances were also discovered to be converted buses and the beds fall below the standards in the secondary healthcare facilities in Akwa Ibom State.
The recalcitrant attitude of ExxonMobil also recently led to its premises being shut down by the Akwa Ibom State Internal Revenue Service over repeated default in its tax obligations to the state.