Coronavirus: Drama as House Kicks against Evacuation of Nigerians from China


*Diaspora Commission denies receiving letter from Nigerians demanding urgent evacuation
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

There was a mild drama on the floor of the House on Tuesday when the lawmakers vehemently kicked against the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in Wuhan Province, China, the epicentre of Coronavirus.

The Chinese government had on Monday said that no Nigerian in the Wuhan Province, the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak is affected by the deadly virus that has ravaged the country.

But at the resumption of plenary Tuesday, a motion titled the urgent need to quarantine and evacuate Nigerians stranded in Wuhan, China, was moved by Hon. Ben Kalu.

Immediately Kalu moved the motion, the lawmakers started grumbling, which forced the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, to ask him to read the title of the motion again.

Kalu said, “The motion is on the urgent need to quarantine and evacuate stranded Nigerians in Wuhan.”

After reading it, the Speaker said Kalu had managed to confuse the members, saying, “your intention was to say evacuate and quarantine.”

Even though the Speaker pleaded with his colleagues to hear what the prayers of the motion were, the lawamkers kicked against it.

On his part, Hon. Nicholas Ossai said China had better health facility than Nigeria.

The bill was finally stepped down as the lawmakers voted against the adoption of the bill.

Meanwhile, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has denied receiving any letter from Nigerians in Wuhan demanding immediate Evacuation.

NIDCOM Head Media and Public Relations, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, in a statement issued on Tuesday said that the commission was in constant touch with Nigerians in Wuhan.

He stated: “Our attention has been drawn to a statement on various social media platforms allegedly from the Nigerians in the Diaspora organisation (East China) claiming it had written a letter to Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NIDCOM requesting to be evacuated in the face of the dreaded coronavirus ravaging the people living in China.

“We must say however that NIDCOM did not receive any correspondence from NIDO East China but saw it on different social media outlets. However we have been in constant touch with Nigerian Students Association in Wuhan (NSAW) whose President is Okoye Chiamaka and Vandi Kamaunji (Secretary General), several Nigerians resident in China as well as our Mission in Beijing.

“All communication and suggestions we have received so far have been forwarded to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who will take appropriate decisions.”

He assured that NIDCOM would continue to coordinate with the Ministry and the mission in Beijing as it awaits further instructions as directed by the Minister in this particular situation.