The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), an umbrella body of Nigerian students worldwide, in a press briefing at the weekend, handed the Nigerian Federal Government a 72-hour ultimatum, to repatriate the Chinese doctors back to their country.
This was, even as the body also tasked President Muhammad Buhari to commence a probe into the mysterious inferno that gutted the Accountant General of the Federation’s office (Treasury House), within 72 hours.
Some 15 Chinese doctors had arrived in the country on the 8th April 2020, to assist the Nigerian government in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus.
But their arrival has received more criticisms than commendations, with the leadership of the National Assembly, Nigerian Medical Association, Nigeria Union of Journalists and other bodies, tackling the Federal Government for taking such inimical decision.
Comrade Danielson Akpan, President of the Nigerian students, at a press briefing in Abuja, said the issue of invitation and subsequent airlifting of Chinese medical personnel was an “affront on the hardworking, efficient and reliable Nigerian doctors who gave their best, patriotically since the outbreak of COVID-19”.
He said, “NANS aligns with the Nigeria Medical Association and condemns the invitation of Chinese nationals into the country; demands information about their whereabouts and seeks their immediate repatriation.
“Curiously, upon their unwelcome arrival, Nigeria recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases, is there any nexus?
We appreciate their humanitarian support, but we don’t need their personnel because our medical practitioners are capable to manage the situation”.
Akpan said, the Federal Government should rather concern itself with airlifting Nigerian students who are stuck in China and are about being used for medical experiments in testing and treating COVID-19, even when they are not carrying the Virus.
On the burnt Treasury House, the NANS President said, the fire outbreak at a time of national lockdown was condemnable and demanded urgent investigation.
“We hereby issue a 72-hour ultimatum to the authorities concerned to conduct investigations into what led to the fire incident.
“The Minister of Finance and indeed the gutted Accountant General’s Office told Nigerians and the world that all beneficiaries of the COVID-19 palliative policy are safely captured in a data upon the query by the National Assembly on the accountability and reach of the management of COVID-19 finances; unfortunately, less than 24 hours after, a strange fire engulfed the Accountant General’s Office. This is not acceptable to Nigerians, and we state categorically that, that building is a national asset which no person or group of persons have the right to destroy for cover-up or connivance,” Akpan added.
The students’ leader also called on the Federal Government to be transparent in the distribution of palliatives, saying Nigerians demand to know how the donations so far made have been distributed.
His words, “We condemn in totality the pattern of disbursement so far as claimed by the PTF and FMHSD. The process is not transparent and does not get to the vulnerable people as claimed, while no one knows where those mentioned billions have been spent since the palliative measures began.
“Information at our disposal revealed that, while government earmarked N20,000 for the vulnerable Nigerians, a paltry N10,000 was disbursed in carefully selected remote rural areas. Information reaching us further revealed that they are trying to conjure fake data to cover up to show that they have given to large numbers of people. All concerned must be ready to render accounts of their stewardship in this trying moment of our national life”.
Akpan commended the pattern used by the GMD of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari and others by donating materials directly to the people and hospitals, instead of giving cash donations to the task force that cannot be accounted for.
He faulted the composition of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, demanding that, NANS and other youth bodies should be included in the PTF, “and health-related students be mobilized to serve as ad hoc staff or supportive staff”.