Mr Michael Yigao, the Managing Director of China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Nigeria Limited says the 15 Chinese team of Medical Experts that arrived Nigeria on April 8 are in their care.
Yigao said this in an interview with Journalists on Monday in Abuja.
The media and opposition parties went agog on May 14 with questions on the whereabouts of the medical team, following the Minister of health, Osagie Ehanire’s comment that the experts were not his guests but CCECC’s.
He also requested that reporters should not bother his ministry over the whereabouts of the 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 May 14, said the medical personnel are not guests of the federal government but, a construction company”.
Yigao who corroborated this in his interview confirmed the experts came into the country to share their experiences in fighting the COVID-19”.
It would be recalled that some Nigerians had kicked against the federal government’s 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 membership of the Association and other health workers who are 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 on 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, however said that the medical experts will be heading home as soon as there is a commercial flight to China.
“Right now the commercial flight to china is not open yet, but when the flights are open again, we’re considering the team going back to china”.
He praised the Nigerian government for how they have 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 a serious and real thing.
“I think Nigeria is taking this very seriously and you can see it in the implementation of the lockdown, 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, training people on how to handle the virus”.
He said he sees the relationship between Nigeria and China as strong, therefore the company would want to build on that strong relationship.
“ 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 is known for quality and therefore will continue to give quality support to the Nigerian people in all areas.
“CCECC is a Nigerian company based here for nearly forty 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.