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Chinese medical team still in Nigeria – Chinese officials

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CHINESE embassy and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has said that the Chinese medical team controversially invited to support Nigerian efforts against COVID-19 is still around in the country.

  They spoke in response to the suggestion by the Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the team has returned home to China.

  When the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was contacted over the recent evacuation of Nigerians from China despite the temporary suspension of the exercise, the ministry explained that “the aeroplane that took the Chinese medical team back to their base could not just come empty like that.”

  The ministry’s spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye, later said categorically that the Chinese medical team had left Nigeria.

  Recall, Nollywood actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, whose husband is a pilot, shared the news of the departure of “the Chinese people who flew in some time ago” on her Instagram page, with a tagged picture of her husband, Matthew Ekeinde, the flight crew and the Chinese passengers.

  This reignited the controversy trailing the whereabouts of the medics that pitted some Nigerians against the Nigerian government, specifically the Ministry of Health.

  The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, had said the medical personnel “are not guests of the federal government but CCECC, a construction company.”

  When the team arrived with medical equipment sponsored by the CCECC in Nigeria on April 8, Mr Ehanire had said “they came to share their experiences in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Chinese company said the support was part of its corporate social responsibility in fighting the pandemic in Nigeria as well as preventing its outbreak among its staff by providing expertise on the management of the virus.

  The Chinese embassy debunked the claim that the medical personnel had left the county ‘unnoticed.’

The spokesperson for the embassy, Sun Siaxiong, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, said the report of them sneaking out of Nigeria was untrue. She said the Chinese medical personnel “are still much around here in Abuja.”

  The Executive Director, CCECC Nigeria, Lian Jianfeng, also refuted the claim.

Mr JianFeng said the medical team had complied with all known immigration and health protocols and would continue to do so until there is the reopening of international commercial flights to China.

  “They are still in Abuja. The team is waiting for the re-opening of the international commercial flight from Abuja,” he said.

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