The main opposition political party in Nigeria, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has given President Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government a 48-hour ultimatum to declare the whereabouts of the Chinese medical team who were brought into the country to assist the federal government in the fight against the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
The PDP in a statement says its position is predicated on the declaration by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, that he cannot account for the whereabouts of the Chinese team, who were brought in from China despite repeated warnings and disapprovals by Nigeria’s medical experts and professional bodies.
According to the PDP, “the minister’s statement had heightened apprehensions in the public space that the Chinese team, whose identity and activities have been allegedly shrouded in secrecy, might have been brought in by a certain cabal for another purpose outside the general public good.”
“It is suspicious, creepy and weird that the minister of health, who had repeatedly assured that the Chinese were brought to render medical services and training; and even went personally to receive them at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja on April 8, 2020; in an elaborately publicized event, can no longer account for the team.”
The PDP said it recalls how some government officials had vehemently defended the invitation of the Chinese team and allegedly 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 inquiring about their whereabouts.”
The PDP that it is worried that the federal government is keeping mute on the whereabouts of the Chinese medics, saying the ruling party is playing politics with the health and well being of Nigerians
“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 inability to account for the Chinese team amounts to a direct betrayal of public trust, which has heightened fears of conspiracies by certain unpatriotic interests in the APC and its administration to allegedly compromise the health architecture of our nation and expose our citizens to danger.”
The PDP says Nigerians can recall how the Federal Government had failed to respond to demands by the party and other well-meaning Nigerians for the particulars of the members of the team, their medical status, scope of operation, detailed itinerary within the country as well as the safety of the equipment they brought into our nation.”
According to the PDP, “It 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 Presidential Taskforce (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.”