The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged Nigerians to hold President Muhammadu Buhari responsible for any upsurge in COVID-19 infections and deaths following the arrival of Chinese doctors on Wednesday.
Federal authorities say the medical team from China, where the coronavirus first broke out, are in the country to assist it in its own war on the pandemic which has so far claimed six lives in Nigeria.
The main opposition party made this call in a statement by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Wednesday.
Despite disapproval from some Nigerians and health workers’ groups, the Chinese medical equipment and personnel on Wednesday evening arrived the country.
This was disclosed at the Presidential Task Force briefing on Wednesday as the minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, did not attend the briefing because he reportedly went to receive them.
The minister of state, health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, said the experts are in Nigeria alongside the equipment needed to curb the virus.
But reacting to the development, the PDP said it is alarmed that President Buhari ignored the protests by Nigerians and professional bodies including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and “allowed the importation of the Chinese doctors despite warnings that bringing in doctors from the hotbed of the plague will expose Nigerians to further risks.”
“This is even as Nigerians across board have continued to question the status, identity and interest of the Chinese doctors as well as the safety of kits and equipment from China, particularly following scary reports of escalation of the scourge in certain countries reportedly after the arrival of Chinese medical personnel in those countries.
“Moreover, our doctors and nurses have been on top of the situation with records of recoveries and less casualties, thus raising questions about the real intentions of bringing in doctors from China,” the party said.
“The situation is even more distressing as the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had been making frantic efforts to exonerate itself from the decision to bring in the Chinese doctors into our country.”
The party said it wants President Buhari “to note that Nigerians already know the pace, intensity and trajectory of COVID-19 statistics at the time the Federal Government, which he leads, gave passage to these Chinese doctors.”
“Nigerians are aware that since the index case was reported till date, our nation’s COVID-19 data stands at 254 confirmed cases, out of which 44 have been successfully treated by our doctors with 6 deaths, which reportedly had other underlining ailments.
“Our party, therefore, calls on the entire world to hold President Buhari responsible should there be any sudden upsurge in COVID-19 infection and deaths in our country, now that the Chinese doctors have been brought in despite protests by Nigerians.
“The PDP charges Nigerians to be extra vigilant at this time as our party also demands that the Presidential Task Force outlines the states and local governments where the Chinese doctors are expected to operate, to enable Nigerians monitor their activities as well as the aftermath of such activities.”
The NMA earlier expressed its dissatisfaction with the move.
The association 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.”
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) also advised the federal government against the plan, saying it was unnecessary to invite Chinese doctors as Nigeria was already handling the crisis effectively.
Nigeria currently has 254 cases of COVID-19 of which 44 have been discharged and six deaths recorded