The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has given the federal government a 48-hour ultimatum to declare the whereabouts of the Chinese medical team it brought in to assist in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in our country.
The PDP’s position is predicated on the declaration by the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, that he could not account for the whereabouts of the Chinese team, who were brought into the country from the global epicentre of the pandemic.
The 15-member team of Chinese medical personnel arrived in the country on April 8 “to share their experiences in fighting the COVID-19.”
Some Nigerians had kicked against the federal government’s decision to invite the medical experts, saying the country had enough doctors to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) also described the move as “a thing of embarrassment to the membership of the Association and other health workers who are giving their best in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic under deplorable working conditions.”
Forty Eight Hours Ultimatum
In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party stated that the minister’s statement had heightened apprehensions in the public space that the Chinese team, whose identity and activities have been shrouded in secrecy, might have been brought in by a certain cabal for another purpose outside the general public good.
The party described as suspicious, creepy and weird that the minister of health, who had repeatedly assured that the Chinese were brought to render medical services and trainings; and even went personally to receive them at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on April 8, 2020; in an elaborately publicised event, can no longer account for the team.
“The PDP recalls how officials of the APC-led administration had vehemently defended the invitation of the Chinese team and offered them full state protocol upon arrival, only to now turn around to disclaim the supposed experts, deny involvement with them and even forbid Nigerians from enquiring about their whereabouts.”
“Our party is worried that the APC-led Federal Government is being economical with the truth, with its officials playing politics with the lives of our citizens and health safety of our nation.”
“The PDP holds that government’s inability to account for the Chinese team amounts to direct betrayal of public trust, which has heightened fears of conspiracies by certain unpatriotic interests in the APC and its administration to compromise the health architecture of our nation and expose our citizens to danger.”
“Nigerians can recall how the Federal Government had failed to respond to demands by our party and other well-meaning Nigerians for the particulars of the members of the team, their medical status, scope of operation, detailed itinerary within our country as well as the safety of the equipment they brought into our nation.”
He said the party had expressed worry over scary reports of escalation of the scourge in certain countries reportedly after the arrival of Chinese medical personnel in those countries and insisted that the APC administration should be held responsible should there be any sudden upsurge in COVID-19 infection and deaths in our country, with the arrival of the said Chinese medical team.
“We invite Nigerians to note that whereas our nation’s COVID-19 data, upon the arrival of the Chinese team in April, stood at 254 confirmed cases with 44 successfully treated by our doctors and 6 deaths, which reportedly had other underlining ailments.”
“Today, the data stands at no less than 5,450 cases and 171 deaths.”
“Our party therefore insists that the PTF on COVID-19 should immediately come out with the truth and provide explanations on the whereabouts of the team in the next 48 hours so as to douse the tension in the country.”
He urged Nigerians to remain vigilant while intensifying personal and public health safety strategies at this critical time.