Reps summon Minister of Health over whereabouts of Chinese medical team
The House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to summon the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Eramie over the detailed status report on the activities and whereabouts of the 15 Chinese medical team in Nigeria.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Hon. Dachung Bagos, who underscored the need for the Minister to report back to the House on the agreement reached during a meeting held at the instance of the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila on the 7th of April 2020.
In his lead debate, Hon. Bagos recalled that Federal Government announced that an 18 Team of Medical Personnel; comprising of Doctors, Nurses and other Medical Advisers will arrive the country along with a plane-load of additional PPE.
“On the 8th of April, 2020, a 15 member Team of Chinese Medical Personnel arrived in the Country to share their experiences in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and were received at the Nnamdi International airport, Abuja by some Government officials, including the Minister of Health.
“The House is aware Also that the decision to bring in Chinese Medical Personnel into the Country to help the fight against COVID-19 by Federal Government, sparked a lot of controversies from some Nigerians who kicked against the decision, saying that the Country has enough Doctors and Nurses who are able to tackle the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“The House is further aware that in response to the controversies, the Hon. Speaker; Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila convened a meeting between the leadership of the House and Minister of Health on 7th April 2020, the Rt. Hon Speaker insisted that the Medical Team must undergo the necessary checks as provided by the NCDC and also go on 14 days Isolation before any interface with Nigerians.
“The House is further aware that on the arrival of the supposedly 15 member Chinese Team Medical Personnel on the 8th of April, 2020, the Minister of Health in a press statement while welcoming them, told Nigerians that; ‘first of all, what the Chineses Doctors will be doing Nigeria is capacity building to add to the body of knowledge which Nigerian Doctors and Experts have because there is no expert who thinks he knows everything, every expert will tell you that there is more to know and there is more to learn, especially if you are hearing from those who have heard personal experience about it.
“So the visit of these team is going to be very helpful to us and am sure the most curious of all persons should be our own scientists who are having many questions and even these ladies and gentlemen are already in quarantine, I have requested that they will be able to connect with our Scientist and Doctors via Tele-conferencing so we can start right early to be able to ask questions and hear their narratives.’
“The House is concerned that before the coming of the Chinese Medical Team into the country, COVID-19 data stood at 254 confirmed cases with 44 successfully treated by the Nigerian Medical Personnel with only 6 deaths who reportedly had other underlining ailments. Today the data stands at about 5959 cases with 182 deaths yet the nation has heard nothing as to the contribution of the supposedly Chinese Medical Team and their supposed medical expertise,” the lawmaker noted.
While expressing displeasure over the uncomplimentary response of the Minister of Health to the inquiries made by newsmen on the whereabouts of the Chinese delegation that the Medical Personnel ‘are not guests of the Federal Government but CCECC, a construction company’, Hon. Bagos harped on the need for the House intervention with the view to address various concerns raised by Nigerians.
“The House notes that following the complaints and concerned of the Nigerian Citizens, it is incumbent on us to duly investigate this issues as it is our duty as Lawmakers and as representatives of our Constituents to protect the Nigerian citizens even while respecting or interacting with foreign Nationals,” he stated.
To this end, the House mandated the House Committees on Health Services, Interior, on National Security and Intelligence and Foreign Affairs to investigate the reports of Chinese Medical Team whereabouts and who they really are.