By Elizabeth Chukwuma
The last may not have been heard about the maltreatment of Nigerian businessmen since the outbreak of Cornonavirus last December in Wuhan Town in the Hebei Province of the Asian country of China last December. This is because of the maltreatment of the Nigerians who visit China for business .the Chinese Immigration and Security operatives were said to have regularly invaded their homes and forced them out to face the country’s mandatory 14 days quarantine as a way to curb the spread of the disease .
Not many had expected the Chinese Authorities to treat Nigerians in such a shameful manner because of the good working relationship between President Muhammadu Bhari and Xi Jinping , the country’s Premier.
The number of the multi-million dollar projects including the $10 billion dual gauge rail line in the south west and northern part of the country being handled by the state controlled Civil Engineering and Construction Company, CECCC, in the country speaks volume. Note that counterpart funding for the rail project, who was a loan was provided by the China Development Bank with the Chinese government standing as the guarantor.
The Nigerian businessmen were said to have been quarantined for the initial two weeks and given papers after being tested and confirmed negative. But the Chinese Authorities, according to sources, were not satisfied with the result of the test showing that the Nigerians were not carriers of the disease.
The Chinese officials were said to have insisted that the Nigerians must go for another two weeks quarantine. In taking the decision, they were said to have failed to Communicate to the country Embassy officials of their plan.
Many believe that the Chinese Authorities by taking taking such action against Nigerians in their country had demonstrated that they have no regard for the Nigerian government as they were said to have seized the Nigerian businessmen international Passports, with the Inscription property of Federal Republic of Federal of Nigeria.
There are indications that the 15-man medical and technical Team that had arrived the country at the instance of the government with the support of the CECC, to support the Campaign and the battle to stop the spread of the Pandemic which had claimed the lives of over 80,000 victims across the world, may have facilitated the return of the Nigerian International Passports to their respective owners.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, had said that 13 Nigerians were among the over 80,000 people that had lost their life to the COVID 19 battle in the United Kingdom, UK, and the United States across the world.
. She disclosed that eight of them had died in the UK whil five died in the US. Among the prominent Nigerians that were said to have lost their life to the disease were a Medical Doctor, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and a Clergy man.
This may have informed why the Nigerian Embassy officials were not happy with the Chinese Immigration officials and were ready to do battle with them for molesting Nigerians who were in the country to do genuine business to be suspected of being carriers of the COVID 19.
Indeed, the action of the Chinese Immigration officials may have infuriated the Ambassador that he dispatched one of the Diplomats in his office who was said to have confronted a Director of the country Immigration Service and gave him a piece of his mind.
“ Listen to me, COVID 19 broke out in Wuhan in China last December. Many Chinese had travelled to Nigeria during that period but were not quarantined. These were people living in China, where the disease had emerged, and also doing their business in China. The Nigerian Diplomat agreed that it is normal for all the people coming from Nigeria to China for business under the present circumstances to undergo the 14 days quarantine in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, WHO and certified fit before being dischasrged.
He noted that after serving the mandatory 14 days quarantine, and then, given a paper to show that they went through the quarantine process, they ought to have been allowed to go . The anger of the Nigerian Embassy officials was the fact that quarantine for the Nigerians was extended for another two weeks without reasonable explanation. According to the Nigerian Embassy official, who had confronted the Chinese top government official , the Nigerian businessmen quarantined tested Negative , why still keep them for another two weeks.
The Nigerian Diplomat was said to have lambasted the Chinese Authoritities for seizing the Nigeria businessmen International Passport which is a property of Federal Republic of Nigeria. Going by the International Law, “no any country has any right to seize the International Passport of Another country”, the Diplomat had said. Seizing Nigerian Passport is like seizing Nigeria as a whole, it is unacceptable the Diplomat, he further remarked.
Appealing to the Chinese Authorities that if they want to play their politics of 14 days quarantine , they should lock down the machinery of government and the economy, where everybody had to sit at home including the Chinese, as the Katsina state born Nigerian President did without singling out Citizens of any country as scapegoats.
The action of the Chinese Immigration and Security Operatives towards Nigerians coming to their country to do business, may have confirmed the rumour making the rounds that the Chinese Authorities have a hidden in Nigeria.
Between last Wednesday that the Chinese 15-man Medical and Technical Team aircraft landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory , FCT, and were received by Osagie Ehanire, the minister of Health and other top officials of the ministry and the Nigerian Center for Disease Control, NCDC, the number of infected Coronavirus patients in the country had been on the increase and there are no sign of changing so soon, thus making nonsense of the Chinese 15-man medical Team coming to help Nigerian curb the spread of the pandemic.
The argument between the Nigerian Diplomat and the Chinese top Immigration official speaks volume. Even when the Diplomat had tried to make the Chinese Director understand that the disease had emerged from Wuhan Town in Hebei Province of China, he had retoorted : How do you know, do you have any proof, an indication that the Chinese Authorities want to claim that the disease was exported to the country by immigrants flooding the country for business one business .
This is where the Buhari may have to take a second look at Nigeria’s dealings with the Chinese Authorities as the country appear to have a hidden agenda to afflict Nigerians with the sickness where they would be invited to come and fully to take over the economy and sell their Coronavirus Face Mask and other equipment that had been produced and kept in several warehouses waiting for foreign buyers.
But Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of House of Representatives had said there was nothing to worry about the Chinese medical Team, stating that the Lawmakers will monitor the Asian country medical personnel who had come to deliver materials and equipment to the government that would assist in curbing the spread of the COVID 19 in the country.
The House Speaker had said that the need to monitor the movement of the Chinenese medical personnel had become unnecessary “following fears being expressed by Nigerians over their coming into the country”. It could not be ascertained whether they were subjected the laid down protocol of the disease in the country before starting their operation.
At present, the NCDC, had reported that no fewer than 305 victims had contacted the disease in the country as at Friday, April 10, 2020, three days, after the Chinese medical personnel arrived the country.
. Indeed, Lagos, which remain the epicenter of the Coronavirus, according to the agency as 163 confirmed cases. Note that 5,000 Nigerians,had been been tested of the diseases at various testing centers across the country including the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital, Idiaraba, where the equipment had been installed.
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