- CAN commends Buhari for raising palliatives to 3.6 m
- As President lauds EU N21b donation
By Egena Sunday Ode, Ochiaka Ugwu and Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian has said that Nigerians alone are not targeted for quarantine in China, but said that it was a general practice involving all nationals including Chinese towards stemming the tide of Coronavirus pandemic.
Zhou made this known during a joint briefing with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama to address the allegation that Nigerians only are being singled out for quarantine in Guangzhou capital of Guangdong Province in China.
Zhou said the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China took note of the seriousness in which the minister and the Nigerian government placed on the issues raised by Nigerians, stating that China respected and admired the workingcooperation with Nigeria.
Going back memory lane, he said that China would never forget the priceless support it received from Nigeria during the most challenging stage in the fight against COVID-19 in China.
Zhou informed that nothing has changed in China, Nigeria relations and that of Africa stressing that China valued its strategic partnership with Nigeria.
He stated that Guangzhou was only fighting COVID-19 virus and not Nigerians or Africans or foreign nationals or Chinese.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama who spoke earlier blamed the alleged ill-treatment on poor communication between the Guangzhou authorities and Nigerian consulate in Guangzhou, China.
He charged Nigerians on objectivity in assessing any incident of that nature, maintaining that Nigerian officials in China informed him that poor communication was responsible for efforts made by Chinese authorities to contain an incident of a lady who tested positive for coronavirus in the area.
He informed of a flight which conveyed a group of Nigerians to Guangzhou in which some Nigerians on the flight tested positive for COVID-19.
He said that amongst them, was a lady who owned a restaurant in Guangzhou, who had tested positive.
He said the restaurant owned by the infected Nigerian lady was frequented by Nigerians and may be a haven for the spread of the virus.
He further explained that having seen the video and received various calls from China, he, of course, alerted the Nigerian Embassy and officials in Guangzhou at the consulate, particularly the acting consul-general.
Onyeama stated that both the Nigerian and Chinese authorities were on top of the situation and working closely to resolve the issue.
He made it clearly that Nigerian government takes seriously the issues of the human rights and wellbeing of Nigerians anywhere and everywhere in the world, adding that wherever there might be any issues in that regard, the Nigerian government considered it an absolute obligation to intervene to ensure the rights and dignity of Nigerians are protected anywhere in the world.
Elsewhere, the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN) Kaduna State has commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his intention to increase the number of those on social register from 2.6 million to 3.6 million beneficiaries.
CAN Chairman in Kaduna, Rev John Joseph Hayab, however called on Mr President to ensure the register captures genuine people it was design for irrespective of their political or religion status.
According to him, “the speech of Mr president came with love, care and concern from the heart of a leader. We appeal to Nigerians to support this move by our president to preserve our people from Covid-19.
“The decision he took was not an easy decision and it requires honest sacrifice from all of us. This sacrifice will bring about the best results for us all.
“We all must discipline ourselves to stay at home, follow the advice and guidelines of our scientists, medical workers and government officials.
“Mr president has again given the committee on palliatives another opportunity to correct the wrongs of the previous exercise. Nigerians will want to see a transparent and humanely approach by the committee in distribution of palliative so that it will build the confidence of citizens on their president.
“Greed and any form of inequality must be avoided and let persons with genuine need be captured so that they will openly celebrate our President’s gesture.
“CAN will encourage pastors to intensify in their sensitization of members about the virus and appeal to members to be patience with the current reality and stay at home.
“CAN will also call for more Prayer alters to be raised by all God-fearing Nigerians for divine intervention and protection of our hero’s medical staff.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja commended the European Union for donating the sum of N21 billion (50 million Euros) to support Nigeria’s efforts at controlling the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Receiving the EU delegation to the country, led by Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, President Buhari said the donation would go a long way in supporting Nigeria’s efforts at controlling and containing the virus to prevent community spread, as well as revitalise the national health care systems.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adeaina, Buhari also expressed sincere condolences of the Government and people of Nigeria to EU-member countries and families who lost their loved ones as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and communities impacted. We are confident from history that the resilience of Europe and our global collective will enable us to emerge stronger from this tragedy.
‘‘Although the EU is facing significant challenges due to this pandemic, I am indeed touched and grateful that the European Union still had the vision and foresight to remember its friends, partners and allies across the world,’’ he said.
The President also lauded EU on the recent launch of the “Team Europe” package to support countries in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences, the statement said.
Buhari noted that the intervention, which is a collaboration between EU, its member states, and financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, would go a long way in ensuring the impact of this pandemic was controlled and contained.
‘‘Indeed, this brotherly support will save millions of lives. Nigeria, Africa and many beneficiary countries across the world will remain grateful for generations to come,’’ he said.
Buhari told the delegation that his administration had done a lot to date in the fight against COVID-19, according to the statement.
‘‘So far, the number of confirmed cases in Nigeria is 343. Our efforts as a Government have focused on controlling and containing the virus to prevent community spread.
‘‘I want to assure you that in this fight, Nigerians are united and by the grace of God and the continued support from our partners, we shall succeed,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Ambassador Karlsen described the donation, channelled through the UN COVID-19 basket fund as, so far, the largest single contribution to the response in Nigeria and the largest support that EU is providing anywhere outside Europe.
‘‘We heard your call for assistance and the EU has reacted swiftly as a demonstration of our true partnership,’’ he said.
The EU Ambassador congratulated the President for ‘‘a very powerful address to the nation last night’’, stressing ‘‘indeed the current situation is no joke and we wish to commend you for taking bold and necessary measures.’’
He also announced that the Union was mobilising other sources of funding, noting that they have already paid 1.2 million Euros to UNICEF, and goods purchased through that funding are expected in the country soon, the statement noted.