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COVID 19: Controversial Inviation Of Chinese Medical Experts, The CECC Connection

By Stephen Ubanna

Osagie Ehanire, minister of Health, appears to have bowed to pressure both within and outside the country to open up on the Chinese medical experts who had arrived the country penultimate Wednesday with some  face mask and other medical   equipment to help  to contain the  spread of the Coronavirus disease, described as very dangerous by Presidnt Muhammadu Buhari .

The disease  which  had emerged in Wuhan town in Hebei Province of the Asian country of China on December 31, 2019,  according to the World Health Organisation, WHO,a United Nations,  UN, Health agency, had  spread to over  210 countries across the world  including Nigeria where 318 victims were said to have contacted it and quarantined . This is in addition to seven casualties.

The Chinese Authorities were said to have claimed to have contained the pandemic which may have  informed why the WHO,   sponsored 25 global health leaders to the country to understudy the strategy and approach  adopted in curbing the  spread of the disease early this year.

Xin Jinping: Chinese Primier

 Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General , Nigerian Center for Disease Control , NCDC,  according to the Katsina state born Nigeria President  was  among the global Health leaders who  were sent to China on the ticket of the WHO. That may have  opened  a channel of discussion between the Chinese Authorities using  the  services of the  Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company, CECC, officials to penetrate  the  ministry of Health and NCDC, in order to win their support to allow  Chinese medical experts  to come  and assist the country t in the  fight against the spread of the deadly disease.

 They had their way. In reaching an agreement with the  Chinese  Company  to  invite the  country medical experts believed could help country  in tackling the disease, the officials were said to have made a case to keep them in their own Isolation facility which the government officials had caved in.

 The government take  in the deal, according to the minister   was to monitor the movement of the Chinese medical personnel  which may be impossible. This is because the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS or Security Operative may not be following them about to know what they are doing.

In spite of the fact that the Health minister had repeatedly said that the government did not  invite or bring  the Chinese medical experts into the country he may have shot himself on the leg when he declared: they were welcome  as the country  could use their help.

According to him, the country now have medical stockpiles, which many believe were donated by Chinese Company on behalf of the home government.  Note that  Chinese Companies had taken  advantage of the health Crisis to start  manufacturing face mask and other equipment that could be used in the containment of the disease even when other countries including the North American country of the United States, US, and the European countries of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, including the Asian countries of  Japan and South Korea, were not ready for it.

osagie: Minister Of Health

“There is almost no healthcare system in the world  that  is ready for COVID 19, except China”, the minister  had said. About 900 Companies in the Asian country are currently   manufacturing  face mask with the support of Don Polymer, which supplies the fabrics for the production of the medical materials and other medical equipment to curb the health crisis.

The question on the lips of most people was that since China claimed that it had contained the disease and now have the materials and medical equipment to help other countries affected by the pandemic to do so, why not channel the support to the US, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, United Kingdom, UK, and South Korea are worse hit instead of  Nigeria  which case may not be as bad as these other countries.

 The worry of many is that Nigerian is not the only country within the African Continent with trade link with China, as there are several other countries which also deserve the support of the Asian country. It is not surprising why political Observers would want officials of the CECC to extend a similar support to other countries in  Africa because of their financial constraint.

The information making the rounds was that the CECC, officials,  may have penetrated the Nigerian government officials  at the instance of Xi Jiping, the country’s President who had promised to pump $344 million  US, dollars, to revive the country’s battered economy which requires  scores of tonnage of oil and gas imports  to run the countries Industries.

 Jiping, may have seen Nigeria, which is a member of the Oil Producing and Exporting countries, OPEC, as one of the major markets to get the  required imports of oil and gas  in order to restore the country back to life.

In a related development those who had expected to resume work or open their offices and  shops  for business on Monday, April 13, 2020, with the expiration of the first two weeks of the lockdown of Lagos, the  FCT and Ogun  state, by the President may have to forget it for now.

Garba Shehu, senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity may have  dashed  the hope of residents  when he disclosed that the President had said that only the” scientific and medical Advisers  would be the ones that would determine  how long  the present  restrictions of movement  put in place,  to curtail the spread  of the  COVID19, will last”. This is   an indication that the COVID 19 induced  compulsory holiday may be indefinite.

Recall that Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the government of the Federation  and Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID 19, had said that only the President could determine when to relax the restriction of movements in the affected states and FCT.

Perhaps, to ease the pain of the forced holiday on Nigerians necessitated by the disease, shehu , the Presidential  Media Aide ,may have gladdened  the heart of people  when he  revealed that 70,000 tonnes of grain from the National Strategic Grains Reserve had been released  for distribution including an undisclosed cash payments to the supposed poor. He disclosed that the palliatives will continue to be made by the Federal, state and Local government Areas as  well as  the Abuja Area Councils as long as the lockdown continues. This is good news to Nigerians if it could be sustained at the various levels of government.

Only recently, Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel  and  the Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, at the instance of the President  handed over 158 trucks load of the  Asian country of Thailand parboiled rice seized from smugglers  across the country’s borders with Benin Republic, Niger and the Central African country of Camerron  to Hajia Sadiya Omar Farouk, minister of Humanitarian, Disaster Management and Social Development for distribution to the needy and  the vulnerable Nigerians.

 The states, according sources, were said to have started collecting their allocations from the Government Warehouses across the country. But the fears being expressed  in both official and unofficial circles was  that the  President good intentions  may be abused as the relief materials may not get really et   to  the poor or the  vulnerable Nigerians who  were supposed to benefit from it  as it may be diverted by government officials for their own pecuniary gain .  

Stephen Ubanna

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July 2021

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