COVID-19: NDDC pledges 1 billion to Niger Delta states

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has donated N1.045bn to combat the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic in the nine states of the Niger Delta region.

The Acting Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei of the commission in a statement signed by its Director, Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili, also shut down its operations till further notice.

Pondei said the commission would release N775million to support the nine states under its mandate.

He said the commission would release another N270million to hasten the establishment of isolation centres in the 27 senatorial districts across the region.

Pondei, who earlier pledged to collaborate with other stakeholders in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, said the NDDC would contribute in the area of treatment of affected persons.

He said: “We are exploring avenues to see if we could intervene in providing ventilators and facilitate the procurement of oxygen.

“We are also looking at the drugs that have been used so far in other climes for treatment. The NDDC is going a step above what others are doing.”

Also the commission in an internal memorandum signed by its Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Etang, and addressed to its directorates, departments and units, directed the shut down of NDDC’s operations.

The statement said: “In view of the complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic, which appears to be on the increase at the moment, it has become imperative for a total shutdown of the services of the commission beginning from today 30th March 2020.

“However, management will not hesitate to recall some key staff handling one sensitive schedule or the other when the need arises.

“Directors/Heads/Units of such essential services as security, plant operators etc should workout ways of covering such duties during the shutdown and forward same to the office of the Ag EDFA accordingly.”

The commission urged the employees to adhere strictly to the World Health Organisation (WHO), standard on preventive measures by ensuring personal hygiene.

It also directed employees to follow stipulated guidelines by the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other relevant health agencies of government to curb the possible spread of the virus.