Aidoghie Paulinus and Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The 65 Nigerians trapped in Wuhan, China, following the outbreak of coronavirus, have cried out for help, lamenting that they are starving and sick, having run out of food and medicine.
Some of the Nigerians told Daily Sun that their situation had become precarious since they were forced to remain indoors to avoid being infected. They have appealed to the Federal Government to take steps to evacuate them as they cannot survive the many weeks of being quarantine in a foreign country without any form of economic assistance because they were mostly students and artisans.
President of Nigerians in Diaspora, China branch, Mr. Festus Mbisiogu, who is also the chairman of Blue Diamond Logistics, China, said his businesses had been shut down, with his Nigerian employees asked to remain indoors.
Mbisiogu said Nigerians in China needed to be evacuated urgently by the Federal Government as most of them cannot afford to weather the hardship associated with being quarantined for days without any source of income, food and medicine.
“Something urgently needs to be done. There are about 65 Nigerians trapped in China. They are indoors and they have run out of food and medicine; they cannot remain indoors without food and medicine. They should be evacuated. My businesses in China, just like other Nigerians, had been shut since the coronavirus outbreak. I am in touch with Nigerians trapped in China. I know that their situation is bad,” he said.
A Nigerian student in Wuhan who preferred to remain anonymous said: “We are in trouble here; we are not going out to get our necessities and nobody is making supplies to us. We have run out of food, medicines, toiletries. The Federal Government should come to our aid and evacuate us to Nigeria, pending when this deadly disease is eradicated.”
Another Nigerian in Guangdong Province said he was stuck and needed government intervention to leave China.
“We are not doing anything. Our businesses have been closed, as we are not venturing out. This is a time for the Nigerian government to prove that it cares for its citizens. They should help us before we start dying of hunger and other sicknesses,” he said.
The Nigerian community in China also faulted the position of the Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed, that “16 Nigerians in Wuhan had not indicated their interest to come home” as untrue.
Meanwhile, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) has denied receiving a letter from NIDO in East Asia for evacuation of Nigerians.
NIDCOM’s spokesperson, AbdurRahman Balogun, said the commission only saw the letter on different social media outlets.
“However, we have been in constant touch with Nigerian Students Association in Wuhan (NSAW) whose president is Okoye Chiamaka and Vandi Kamaunji (secretary general), several Nigerians resident in China as well as our mission in Beijing. All communication and suggestions we have received so far have been forwarded to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who will take appropriate decisions,” Balogun said.
In a related development, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Nigeria, has denied reports of the suspension of its visa section as a result of the outbreak of the virus.
In a ‘Newsletter on Fighting 2019-nCoV’ the Embassy said: “On the issuance of visa, the Ambassador said the embassy was in full operation and very effective.”