The National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture and Wood Works (NUCECFWW) in Nigeria expressed its shock and disappointment this week over a company’s refusal to comply with the government’s directive to shut down all workplaces as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NUCECFWW President Amechi Asugwuni said that the Dangote Refinery Construction Sites asked thousands of its workers to continue working at the Dangote Lekki Project sites despite a lockdown that forced many workplaces to cease from operating.
Asugwuni, who is also the Vice president, of BWI Africa Middle East Regional Committee, said many of the workers are Nigerians and Indian nationals. He said that according to reports, one of the Indian workers showed symptoms of COVID-19, raising fears of the virus’ spread among workers.
“The Dangote Company’s act is not only unfortunate, it is also condemnable. We call on the federal and Lagos state governments and all other relevant agencies to compel the Dangote Lekki Project Management to halt all its operations to protect the health and safety of its workers,” Asugwuni said.
Asugwuni said that employers that heeded the federal government’s COVID-19 directives, such as observing physical and social distancing, and temporary workplace closures, should be commended. He stressed that the federal government’s directives were in line with the advice given by the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA).
On the 30th of March, the federal government decided to put Abuja and Lagos, Africa’s most populated cities with more than 20 million people, under a two-week total lockdown.