Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Government on Tuesday revealed why the 15 Chinese experts who came into Nigeria to support the fight against COVID-19, are still in the country.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, while responding to a question at Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing on COVID-19 said the experts are in Nigeria on the bill of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to assist in building and equipping isolation centres.
“Indeed 15 Chinese nationals came into Nigeria on 8th of April. They are here on the bill of the CCECC, a Chinese company doing some works for us in Nigeria; in conjunction with some Nigerian companies they agreed to support us in the effort to respond to the pandemic.
“At Idu isolation centre in Abuja, they participated in retrofitting and equipping the isolation centre. They equally worked on the Dome project, that was handled by the NNPC Construction in conjunction with ThisDay.
“So, those are the locations in which they came to work. Both in retrofitting the Iju facility and installing critical essential medical equipment,” the minister explained.
He added that the Chinese experts came into Nigeria on a 30-day visa issued in Beijing and they are still in the country because there is a restriction on travel occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The whereabouts of the Chinese experts became a thing of concern after the Minister of Health last week Thursday told reporters not to question him over the whereabouts of Chinese medical experts who came into Nigeria to support the fight against COVID-19.
Ehanire, while responding to questions at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing said the medical personnel “are not guests of the Federal Government but CCECC, a construction company.”