Mr Michael Yigao, Managing Director, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Ltd, says the 15 Chinese medical experts that arrived in the country on April 8 are in the company’s care.
Yigao made the disclosure on Monday in Abuja while reacting to questions raised by the media and opposition parties on May 14, as to the whereabouts of the Chinese medical team.
This followed comment by the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, that the experts, who reportedly came into Nigeria to support the fight against COVID-19, were not his guests but those of CCECC.
Ehanire, while responding to questions at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing May 14, said “the medical personnel are not guests of the Federal Government but that of the construction company”.
Yigao, who corroborated this while speaking with newsmen, confirmed that the experts came into the country to share their experiences in fighting the COVID-19.
It will be recalled that some Nigerians had kicked against the decision to invite the medical experts, saying the country had enough doctors to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) even described the move as an embarrassment to the association and other health workers who were giving their best in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic under “deplorable working conditions”.
However, Yigao clarified that the team came specially to help CCECC fight this pandemic and protect its employees.
“The team had a telecast meeting with the Minister of Health and some doctors around the country and shared their experience in China on how they’re fighting the virus and the meeting was very positive.
“ They are here with us and have continued to teach our staff how to protect themselves because protection and prevention are more important than the treatment.
“Most of the workers understand the situation now and they know the risk, so they follow the proper procedures and cooperate with their instructors,’’ he said.
He said the medical experts would be heading home as soon as there was a commercial flight to China.
“Right now, commercial flight to China is not open, but when flights are open again, we’re considering the team going back to China.”
He praised the Nigerian government for how they had been able to contain the pandemic so far.
“In a big country like Nigeria, it can be a bit difficult to control a pandemic because you will have to make all the people of such a large country understand that it is serious and real thing.
“I think Nigeria is taking this very seriously and you can see it in the implementation of the lockdown and the suspension of international flights etc.
“And like other companies in Nigeria, we will do whatever we can to help the country, like building treatment centres and training people on how to handle the virus”.
He said that his company would like to build on the strong mutual relationship between Nigeria and China.
“ Upon request from the Nigerian government, we gave necessary support, like building treatment centres and at the same time delivered some health related equipment.
“We understand the COVID-19 pandemic challenge in Nigeria because we are based here and have a lot of employees and we do believe, that with efforts from the government from the people, we will win this war.
“I hope the people of Nigeria understand that we need the help of all peoples across the world to win this fight against Coronavirus,’’ he added.
He said that CCECC would continue to give quality support to the Nigerian people in all areas.
“CCECC is a Nigerian company based here for nearly 40 years, and most of the staff here are Nigerians, so we have a Nigerian voice.
“At CCECC, we have a company standard and we do not compromise, you can see our touch in the airport terminals, Abuja Isolation Centres, Abuja, Kaduna, Lagos rail lines etc.
“You can see our works at the Airport Terminals, they are one of the finest in Africa, we at CCECC will not compromise standards for any price.