By Adedayo Akinwale
Signs of division in the House of Representatives emerged on Tuesday as the Minority Caucus in the Green Chamber kicked against the decision of the federal government to bring Chinese doctors into the country over the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
The Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, had at a meeting on Monday between the leadership of the House and the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, gave the support of the legislative arm to the decision of the federal government to allow Chinese doctors into the country.
The Speaker however insisted that the Chinese medical personnel coming to Nigeria to assist in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic must undergo the necessary checks as provided by Nigeria.
But a statement issued on Tuesday by the Leader of the Caucus, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, warned that bringing in medical personnel from the epicentre of the dreaded disease would expose the nation to further danger.
He stated categorically that Nigerian doctors and nurses are doing well so far in managing the scourge, but expressed fears that bringing in Chinese medical personnel, whose status, intentions and scope cannot be easily ascertained and controlled is totally against the national interest.
The caucus therefore called on the federal government to immediately rescind its decision and jettison all plans to bring doctors from the hotbed of the plague into the country at this critical time.
He stated: “The federal government should note the apprehensions of Nigerians and professional bodies including the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) over the decision.
“Bringing in Chinese medical personnel, whose status, intentions and scope cannot be easily ascertained and controlled is totally against our national interest.”
The caucus noted that this is particularly after alleged escalation of the pandemic in certain countries after Chinese doctors were reportedly involved, in addition to widespread trepidations over the safety of medical equipment and kits from China at this point in time.
The minority leader stressed that at such critical time, the safety and wellbeing of the citizens must be paramount and anything that is capable of further jeopardizing their lives must be avoided.
Elumelu however commended Nigerians for their resilience and collaborative effort in fighting the spread of the pandemic in the country.