•Says the fight on Coronavirus, full of half truth and fallacies
•Warns Federal to stop playing semantics
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) is demanding a public apology to Nigerians from both Minister of Health and Minister of Interior on the confusions created on the exact mission of the Chinese medical team in Nigeria.
The group made this call Wednesday in a statement signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko asking the Federal government to stop playing games with Nigerians and disclose the whereabout of the Chinese doctors.
According to the statement the Health minister had initially announced the arrival of the Chinese doctors about a month ago and he was reportedly at the Airport to welcome the medical team who came in through a Federal Government chartered jet.
Onwubiko said, with recent development the tune has changed from what initially was said upon their arrival, adding that there is need for appropriate communication with the general public to avoid misconception.
“The Federal government should stop playing ‘semantic gymnastics’ with Nigerians over the precise whereabouts and mission of the delegation of about 15 Chinese doctors to avoid planting misconceptions in the minds of millions of Nigerians that Government is really not engaged in committed battles against the ravaging pandemic.
“The Health minister was the one who announced initially that Chinese doctors were coming about a Month ago and he was reportedly at the Airport to welcome the Chinese medical team who came in through a Federal Government chartered jet.
“Then the Health minister told Nigerians that the Chinese Doctors will help to set up Isolation centres. But when the heat was on the Health minister backtracked from his earlier statements and actions and is now telling Nigerians not to ask him about the whereabouts of the same Chinese Medical doctors that he went to welcome from the Airport in Abuja. This is unfortunate.
The statement further disclosed that “widespread media reports stated that the minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola, said the medical team from China came to build isolation centres while responding to questions at the daily Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing few weeks back sequel to the arrival of the controversial medical delegation from China the Country whereby the Coronavirus pandemic kicked off as an epidemic before snowballing into a global pandemic.
HURIWA however, condemned the deliberate ambiguity in the communications made to Nigerians by the members of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and some members of the executive Council of the Federation on the visit of the Chinese medical team to Nigeria amidst stiff opposition from a cross section of Nigerians.
The group wondered then why the Minister is speaking from both sides of his mouth by affirming that the Ministry of Health is not their host and that he cannot always explain what happened to them or where. ‘There seems to be a lot of interest in these doctors but they are staff of the company and I think they are on the company visa’.
“The trajectory of the involvement of the foreign medical team from China in the local efforts to combat the Coronavirus challenge in Nigeria is full of half truths and fallacies sold to Nigerians by members of the Federal Executive Council and the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 regarding the exact mission and movements of the Chinese medical team who surreptitiously came in when the whole World was on Lockdown and indeed the Federal government had shut down all the International Airports and entries into Nigeria.
“HURIWA is aware that millions of Nigerians and medical associations kicked against the decision to invite the medical experts, but against all rational opposition the government went ahead as planned and yet officials are not forthcoming with believable line of information on the exact whereabouts of the Chinese medical team members.
“The Rights group further reminded the Federal Governmemt that the minister of Health had also confirmed that the Chinese team arrived in Nigeria on April 8 ‘to share their experiences in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,’ it is unimaginable that the same minister of Health is feigning ignorance of the location of the members of the 15 medical doctors from China.
“It is clear that there are information the government officials are keeping away from Nigerians on the exact status of the Chinese medical team in the Country because the sane Health minister who denied hosting the Chinese team had told Nigerians that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has been able to learn some things from the Chinese medical team by interacting with them from their experience in their country whereas the Interior minister said categorically that they came to help build isolation centres in Nigeria”.
According to the the national coordinator the admission by the health minister that government was ignorant of the movements and schedules of the visiting Chinese is a threat to national security because what it portends is that government does not have what it takes to enforce the immigration laws of Nigeria.
“In saner climes the minister would have been forced to resign or be dismissed,”he said.
“The Health minister was the one who announced initially that Chinese doctors were coming about a Month ago and he was reportedly at the Airport to welcome the Chinese medical team who came in through a Federal Government chartered jet. Then the Health minister told Nigerians that the Chinese Doctors will help to set up Isolation centres. But when the heat was on the Health minister backtracked from his earlier statements and actions and is now telling Nigerians not to ask him about the whereabouts of the same Chinese Medical doctors that he went to welcome from the Airport in Abuja. This is unfortunate. In saner climes the minister would have been forced to resign or be dismissed.”