Amidst denial over the whereabout of Chinese doctors who arrived Nigeria amidst public outcry, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has given the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government a 48-hour ultimatum to declare the whereabouts of the Chinese medical team it brought in purportedly to assist in the fight against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in our country.
PDP said its position was predicated on the alarming declaration by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, that he cannot account for the whereabouts of the 15 Chinese doctors.
In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kola Ologbondiyan, the Chinese team, were brought into Nigeria from the epicentre of the pandemic, despite repeated warnings and disapprovals by our medical experts and professional bodies.
The Chinese medical team had arrived in Nigeria on 8th of April 2020 with medical equipment and supplies valued at $1.5m donated by the Chinese government.
According to the statement by the party “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 training; and even went personally to receive them at the Nnamdi Azikwe 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.
“Our 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.”
The party added: “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.
“The PDP, however, urged Nigerians to remain vigilant while intensifying personal and public health safety strategies at this critical time.”
It would be recalled that the Federal Government had announced that the Chinese medical team were in isolation for 14 days to dispel any suspicion of their being infected with the virus before they are released to carry out their assignment.