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COVID-19: Controversy over aid from China unhelpful—Aremu

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Aid from China
The Chinese doctors arrived Nigeria on Wednesday.

As the controversy trails the offer of aid from China in the current fight against the rampaging COVID-19, Issa Aremu, has said the nation needs a unity of purpose against the pandemic and not what he called “unhelpful controversy” at this critical time of the need for global solidarity against the disease.

Aremu, a member of National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru, Jos, and Vice President of IndustriALL Global Union, Africa Region, said this on Thursday.

He said COVID-19, which had recorded over 1,513,243 cases in over 148 countries with over 88,403 deaths, 329,731 recoveries can only be confronted with “global solidarity, not Chinaphobia” even as he agreed that each “country bears the singular responsibility to independently act fast and efficiently” to contain the COVID-19 menace.

The confirmed cases in Nigeria had risen to 272, with additional new reported death in Lagos.

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Aremu, who is also a former Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, hailed the decision of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 and NCDC to subject the Chinese medical experts to national control measures, such as 14 days isolation period.

Aremu said while the concern of the  Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, was “legitimate”, he noted that questioning the support of China is at this time unhelpful to deal with the COVID-19 challenge, which is a matter of “life and death” for all countries.

His words: “As the Coronavirus curve climbs in Nigeria, the Chinese support with 256 equipment and items in different quantities among which are 1.3 million medical masks, over 150,000 pieces of personal protective equipment as well as 50 medical ventilators is timely and commendable.”

Aremu backed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, saying the support from the Chinese firms in Nigeria within the framework of their respective Corporate Social Responsibilities, CSR, would further compliment ongoing massive national responses.

He said: “There is a huge deficit on the supply side of the necessary health protection and economic materials, such that additional support from the private sector, NNPC, multilateral institutions and China are timely and necessary.

“The point cannot be overstated that China has successfully contained the virus, which first broke out in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December last year. Nigeria would benefit from the their effective methods and advice on the use of relevant medical equipment.

“The controversy about China calls for an inclusive and consultative Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 such that the concerns of critical stakeholders like NMA and organised labour can be proactively addressed through collective engagement.”


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