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Coronavirus: Less than 24 hours after ICIR’s report, Nigerian govt reaches out to students in China

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THE Nigerian government has reached out to students in China, preaching caution and safety in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak that has led to the death of over 200 people in the country.

This is coming up in less than 24 hours after The ICIR reached out to some Nigerians students in China and reported their plights as most schools go on mandatory lockdown, restricting movement and hindering access to basic needs and money.

The students had demanded that the Nigerian government come to their aid, stating that the government of other countries were providing financial assistance and on-the-ground support for their own but they had been left abandoned by their own country.

Following the report, a press statement which was passed as a memo to Nigerian students in China was released and in the statement sighted by The ICIR, the government itemised precautionary measures that should be adhered to by the students to avoid contracting the virus.

Nigerians in Wuhan city, where the outbreak first happened, were asked to remain indoors and take safety measures provided by the Chinese authorities.

Press statement sent to Nigerian students in China.

Releasing a statement has been counted as the barest minimum of support offered by the Nigerian government.

The students, due to restriction of movement, said they lack basic needs and access to money, and the government remains aloof. They expressed disappointment over the government’s apathy to the plight of the Nigerians in China.

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One of them who pleaded for anonymity said that he was disappointed that the Nigerian government has refused to provide any mode of support unlike government of other countries.

“This government has no sense at all. They are advising us to stay indoors with no food or support provided. This is why people search for citizenship in other countries,” the student said.

The ICIR called on phone Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa to know what plan the Nigerian government has to cater to the needs of Nigerians in China, she did not answer. A message was also sent to her on WhatsApp but she has not replied by the time the report was filed for publication.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has has declared novel coronavirus (nCoV) a public health emergency.

The announcement was made by Tedros Ghebreyesu, Director-General of WHO on Thursday, who said the agency was concerned and has the responsibility to protect countries with weaker health systems from the deadly virus.

Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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