By: Our Reporter
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Task Force, Mr. Boss Mustapha has directed journalists to focus their attention more on relevant questions rather than pressing on government to disclose the whereabouts of the fifteen Chinese importee doctors, including how much was used in importing the much-touted Madagascar herbal remedy.
RegentAfrica Times recalls that the 15 Chinese team came into the country at the expense of the taxpayers’ money on the 8th of April 2020, went through the two weeks quarantine despite the criticism that greeted their arrival by most Nigerians. The momentous of the Chinese presence at the time according to the federal government is to assist the country in the fight against the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic.
In what seems to be unending inquisitive on the part of the men of the Nigerian press at the Tuesday briefing brought the question to limelight once again. The federal government came under pressure to update the public on the whereabouts of the Chinese doctors that came into the country as parts of government’s efforts in curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic to allow for transparency in the scheme of things.
Obviously dissatisfied at the Tuesday briefing, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha appeared not too comfortable, and in demonstration of how the two interminable questions rattles the government, the SGF calls on the media to focus their precious time more on important things in the struggle to end COVID and desists from further questions on Chinese doctors or issues related issue as regards the Madagascar herbs’ importation.
“I want to implore journalist to make use of their valuable time in covering COVID-19 pandemic, which is more relevant to us as we gather here from time to time, and stop further questions on those Chinese or about Madagascar remedy importation.”
Meanwhile, not a few Nigerians are of the opinion that the federal government has more to explain on the agenda of the fifteen Chinese doctors in the country. Pundits are suspicious that the fifteen Chinese men were actually kept, and operate in the presidential villa for an undisclosed agenda. Though the president was given a clean bill of coronavirus infection at the time, the late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari was declared positive before his consequent death of the disease.
Also in line with the protocol at the briefings, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, to who the question was directed had earlier parried the query. He explained that the fifteen Chinese doctors came into the country at the instance of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) in Nigeria, but were engaged by the FG to assists Nigeria to battle the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
The interior minister further explained that, the Chinese men, aside the roles they executed in the preparations of ThisDay Dome, in Abuja for use as part of the facility made available to the government by ThisDay for an Isolation Center, said the Chinese doctors were equally scheduled to move around the country in execution of their duty. He said the Chinese were restricted due to the presidential restrictions on inter-state movements across the country.
Though the permutation by the Minister was ironically contradictory, leaving much to questions on what the Essential Services declaration by the same federal government is all about as the Chinese doctors, all the way from the far-east are restricted by the local lockdown for reasons they are in the country.
However, the whereabouts of these experts recently sparked controversy when Mr Ehanire requested reporters not to bother his ministry about them.
An exasperated Mr Ehanire said the medical personnel “are not guests of the Federal Government but CCECC, a construction company.”
Some confused analysts equally berate the government on account that nobody has cited the Chinese men since their arrival in Nigeria at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on April 11, hence the incessant demands by Nigerians of their whereabouts, and by extension curiosity to know the true state of the President’s health, his Vice and their family members.
Opposition PDP Berates FG for Concealment
Meanwhile, the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has berated the Federal Government for its denials and cover-up on the whereabouts and activities of the Chinese medical experts it brought into our country last month.
The opposition demands an immediate apology from the Federal Government for taking the citizens for granted in its handling of the Chinese. The party said the conduct of the Federal Government in disclaiming the Chinese team and declaring that it cannot account for their whereabouts after it had accorded them state reception, had further exposed the dishonesty, lack of transparency and inherent corruption that pervade the APC administration for which Nigerians have completely lost confidence, the party said on Tuesday.
“On behalf of Nigerians, our demands an immediate apology from the Federal Government for taking the citizens for granted in its handling of the Chinese.”
PDP described as bizarre that the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclaimed the Chinese team, denied involvement and knowledge of their whereabouts whereas clarifications by the Chinese Embassy and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) indicate that the team had been in CCECC facility and had also collaborated with our health agencies.
The party noted that the declaration by the minister of health that government cannot account for the medical team it officially received, directly triggered public alarm and raised suspicion of clandestine designs against our nation, consequent upon which our party issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Federal Government.
This is because our party believes that the health minister’s conduct betrayed a plot by certain officials of the Federal Government to deceive Nigerians and ostensibly distract public attention from the acts of corruption being perpetrated in the fight against COVID-19 in our country.
The PDP consequently demands that the Federal Government should immediately declare and account for, in details, all funds, equipment, therapeutics and sundry aids it has received from international and indigenous bodies and individuals, given the exposed proclivities of its officials for diversion of such aids.