PDP says health minister’s denial of whereabouts of Chinese doctors creepy, betrayal of public trust

THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday described as creepy, and a betrayal of public trust, the denial by Osagie Ehanire, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, about the whereabouts of the 15 Chinese Doctors who came into the country on 8th April.

The party said it is weird that Ehanire, who had repeatedly assured that the Chinese were brought to render medical support and training; could suddenly change his narrative about the Chinese citizens.

In a statement issued by the party via its social media handle, the PDP gave 48 hours for the Federal Government to locate the foreigners, stressing that Ehanire was part of government officials that received the personnel upon their arrival in Abuja.

According to the party, Ehanire’s statement about the foreigners had heightened apprehensions in the public space while the true identity of the Chinese team has reportedly been shrouded in secrecy.

“The PDP recalls how officials of the All Progressive Congress-led administration had vehemently defended the invitation of the Chinese team and offered them full state protocol upon arrival, only to now turn around to disclaim the supposed experts, deny involvement with them and even forbid Nigerians from inquiring about their whereabouts.

“Our party is worried that the APC-led Federal Government is being economical with the truth, with its officials playing politics with the lives of our citizens and health safety of our nation,” the statement read in part.

The Minister had recently told journalists who asked him about the doctors, during the regular briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 not to bother him with such as they were not really federal government’s guests.

The Chinese had arrived at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja early April on premise that they were coming to assist Nigeria in the fight against the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) until the question of their whereabouts became public discourse.

On 28th April, it was reported that the Chinese had tested negative for the virus but since then, not much was heard from the foreigners.

“They are not really our guests…I think not all of them are doctors.  Some of them are technicians…….the Ministry of health is not their host, so we cannot always explain what happens to them or where they are.” Ehanire told journalists at the PTF briefing.

    However, the opposition party charged the Federal Government to identify the exact locations of the Chinese foreigners.

    They expressed worry over the incident stressing that the current government should be held responsible should there be any sudden upsurge in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country, with the arrival of the said Chinese medical team.

    The party emphasised that based on government data, Nigeria had 254 confirmed cases with 44 treated cases and six deaths, but the data has risen to 5,450 cases and 171 deaths.

    “Our party, therefore, insists that the PTF on COVID-19 should immediately come out with the truth and provide explanations on the whereabouts of the team in the next 48 hours so as to douse the tension in the country,” the party has said.

    Olugbenga heads the Investigations Desk at The ICIR. Do you have a scoop? Shoot him an email at [email protected]. Twitter Handle: @OluAdanikin

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