Coronavirus scar may hamper work on Port Harcourt – Aba Road by our Correspondent
The scar of the new raging virus, CORONAVIRUS, that is now spreading across the world from the Peoples Republic of China may hamper the ongoing progress on the construction of Port Harcourt – Aba Road section of the East-West Road.
The reason may not be unconnected with the realization that the Contractor China Civil Construction Corporation, CCECC, handling the project, is a Chinese firm with Chino nationals physically handling the project.
Our correspondent who visited the site of the project, along Oyigbo-Eleme Junction section of the interstate higway reports that there is a silent show of dread of the Chinese nationals by the Nigerian menial workers in the company who say that they are scared of directly having direct contact with the foreigners.
Most of the workers who pleaded anonymity said there is growing fear among Nigerians working there which could lead to reactions if the company does not show it has set up mechanisms for the prevention of the virus that has become a global threat.
For one casual worker, who just said his name is Bro Boniface, concern among Nigerians working with the company is gradually mounting, stressing that if those concerns are not addressed, ongoing construction work may be hindered.
According to him, “I am seriously following the spread of this global virus. Everyday I get home, I try to monitor the development of the virus because such do not have boundary. I am very scarred because I work in a company in which a great percentage of the principal staff are of Chinese extraction, hence one has to be very careful”.
Asked if the company is putting any preemptive measure on ground to give the workers confidence, the Heavy Duty vehicle assistant said no, explaining that the higher hierarchy of the company is feigning ignorance of the disturbing reality of the spread of the virus.
According to him, “Just like me, many of us here are afraid of speaking about this spread of the virus, people here are silently afraid of close contact with the Chinese. There is a silent rising stigma that every Chinese has this virus”.
Another worker who simply described himself as Ichiaka, the fear of the workers is getting more purposeful with the way the Federal Government is slapping sanctions or closing business activities of Chinese interest in Nigeria as a result of the spread of the virus.
“We actually never took the tale of the rise in the spread of the virus serious until the Federal Government began to take drastic measures and critical interest in the activities of Chinese firms in Nigeria. That sent a message and most of us working directly with them must fear for our live”, he said.
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