The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said on Monday the Chinese medical personnel coming to help Nigeria to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic must undergo the necessary checks in the country.
Gbajabiamila, who stated this after a meeting between the leadership of the House and the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, urged the Federal Government to take necessary precautions and allay fears expressed by many Nigerians on the matter.
The ministers, according to a statement issued by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Lanre Lasisi, assured the House leadership that the 18 Chinese doctors would not have personal contacts with patients during their stay in the country.
The meeting was attended by the Chief Whip, Mohammed Tahir Monguno; the Deputy Leader House, Peter Akpatason, and the Deputy Chief Whip, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha.
Gbajabiamila said the meeting was conveyed following widespread complaints that trailed the federal government’s invitation of some Chinese medical personnel to assist Nigeria tackle the pandemic.
He said: “There are a lot of complaints about why we are bringing in Chinese doctors.
“It is incumbent on us, as lawmakers, to intervene, following the concerns of our constituents to understand the issues and get the right information to them.
“Our duty is to protect the Nigerian people, and every opportunity to increase our knowledge will not be thrown away.
“Having listened to you, what we are taking away from this meeting is that Nigeria needs this intervention from the Chinese, but you have to make it mandatory that they observe all the protocols laid down for the disease.
“As you explained that they won’t have direct contact with Nigerian patients, you have to make sure that they go through our official immigration laws, they have to get work permit waivers because they are coming here to work.
“Also, they have to be quarantined for 14 days as stipulated by the protocol, and you have to educate Nigerians about this to avoid misconceptions. We have laws and they must be complied with.”
Ehanire told the House leadership that Nigeria did not officially invite the Chinese team, saying it was an offer arranged by a group of Chinese companies based in Nigeria as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to Nigeria.