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CORONAVIRUS: Nigerian students in China beg to be evacuated



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Nigerian students in Wuhan have called for urgent action from the Nigerian government to move them from the Chinese city.

They said their lives were increasingly under threat by the rapidly spreading coronavirus disease.

The students in a “save our soul message” addressed to the Nigerian government, stated that although there were zero Nigerian casualties, there was however an urgent need for the government to emulate other countries in taking necessary actions to evacuate her citizens.

They further read: “It has come to us as a rude shock the news circulating in print and electronic media, which suggests that Nigerians in Wuhan have not expressed interest to be evacuated.

“We are compelled to reject reports emanating from the government, this time from the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, stating that the Nigerian Embassy in China informed him that no Nigerian in China had expressed willingness to be evacuated.

“We also want to seize this opportunity to dispel the notion circulating along the corridors of power and general public that all Nigerians in Wuhan are being sponsored and catered for by the Chinese Government.

“We urge the public to disregard these news reports or any official communication that suggest otherwise. We all have been deeply affected psychologically. We are pleading to be evacuated.

“The critical situation also attracted relevant organisations such as NIDO China and NIDO East China, to help ensure our plight is adequately communicated to the Nigerian Government.

“This is in addition to the many interviews granted by Nigerians trapped in Wuhan via various media outlets as well as an open letter to the President by one of the Nigerians in Wuhan requesting for evacuation.

“There are 65 Nigerians (excluding 14 children) currently under lock-down over a period 25 days and counting. As the number of cases increases and the death toll now stands at over 1500, we are in constant fear because an uncertainty looms about the general situation of things.

“There are vulnerable groups amongst us: children, pregnant women and some in need of urgent and continuous medical attention. Families are living in constant fear of contracting the virus, seeking medical attention for unforeseen ailments, running out of food and water.

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“There is no gainsaying, several countries have evacuated their citizens-including some African countries. The urgency with which they acted demonstrates their awareness of the gravity of the situation; as well as the premium of their citizens.

“Recently, our plight was brought up in the House of Representatives; precisely on the issue of evacuation. To our utter dismay and disappointment, it was treated with derision and not worth debating on the floor of the House.

“We are appealing to concerned citizens and reputable organizations to press for the evacuation of fellow compatriots, family, friends and children trapped in Wuhan. We urge the public to once more, as you have done on many countless occasions, express your humanity and respond to our appeal.”

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunibe Mamora, in a press briefing earlier, stated that Nigerians in China would be evacuated when the need arose.

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