By Victor Young
Organised labour has faulted the Federal Government’s acceptance of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, CCECC’s sponsored 18 Chinese medical experts to assist the country in the battle against the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, despite opposition from various concerned groups including Nigeria Medical Association, NMA.
United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, in a statement by its President, Joe Ajaero, warned that the so-called Chinese experts might worsen the nation’s woes.
He contended that ULC was “surprised that the decision to bring in the Chinese medical experts was not fully discussed and agreed among the top medical practitioners and stakeholders in the nation, especially NMA; resident doctors; National Association of Herbal Medicine Employers, NAHME, and indeed other top health associations, which have unanimously questioned this decision. This is worrying.”
The statement read: “Why would such a crucial decision be taken in secret without coordinate input from the critical stakeholders in the nation?
“This sector is a highly specialised area which requires that at all times the input of the professionals to process the offer and agree on its mechanics and modalities.
“As we battle against COVID-19, we strongly believe that the nation’s medical experts must be involved, if not allowed to be at the forefront of taking such crucial decisions.
“We are also worried that a company, which has had a pervasive influence on the government of this nation being in charge of various critical infrastructure projects in this country is the one making this offer at this time.
“Could it be that this may be our government’s way of granting favour to the company to take charge of their Chinese personnel during this pandemic? Was there a quid pro quo that may compromise our nation’s ethos, interests and medical processes?
“The Congress is forced to speak up on this matter on hearing the reaction of Boss Mustapha on the complaints and concerns raised by many Nigerians on the attempt to smuggle in the Chinese without proper consultation.
“We view that response as unproductive if not entirely dismissive of the well-founded objections raised by these concerned organisations and individuals.
“It is always better to err on the side of caution than suffer adverse consequences eventually.
“Prevention is better than cure, they say. The Federal Government should address the fears of Nigerians, who have rejected the idea of the Chinese experts instead of the apparent imperious declaration that there is no going back on that decision, as if the opinions of Nigerians do not matter.
“We believe that for the nation to have a successful battle against the pandemic, we must carry our indigenous stakeholders along and have everybody working together without the schisms that have become apparent.”