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Fact Check: There are reports that government of President Muhammadu Buhari spent at least N734, 000, 000 ($2m) to bring a team of 15 Chinese doctors to Nigeria to help Africa’s biggest tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Finding: It is not true. The news may have been cooked by opposition to the idea of inviting doctors to Nigeria.
China is Nigeria’s biggest trade partner and when China officially reported the case of coronavirus in 2019, Nigeria was the first African country to send its sympathy.
Who incurs the transport fare of the Chinese doctors?
According to the Ambassador of China to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, China’s construction company (CCECC) which is handling most of the Federal Government’s major road and rail projects is responsible for bringing the 15 doctors.
According to him, he said it was to reciprocate the gestures demonstrated by Nigeria during China’s trying times in fighting Covid-19.
He spoke to newsmen in Abuja, saying the support coming from the Chinese government and its companies in Nigeria was China’s way of reciprocating.
Wondered why Nigerians were agitated
Reacting to the reactions of Nigerians who opposed the idea of bringing in foreign doctors, , Zhou Pingjian said, “I am struggling to understand the logic; for us, at the most difficult stage of our fight, we received support from Nigeria, it is time for us to reciprocate the friendship and the kindness.
“This is the first time I met the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, since early February and I appreciate the strong support for us from him and the government.
China is Nigeria’s friend
According to him, China could not afford to leave Nigeria at the time of COVID-19 trying moment “For the government and Chinese businesses, what we are trying to do is to address the concerns of our dear friends.
“According to the information the CCECCE gave to me, the value of the equipment and medical supplies is around $1.5 million and including the other costs like the flight it is around $2 million,” he said.
Before the 15 Chinese doctors landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has opposed the FG’s idea of bringing foreign doctors to handle matters they could manage.
They described the decision of the government as a slap on the medical professional body.
Above all Buhari’s Government Didn’t Pay N734 million ($2M) to Bring Chinese Doctors to Nigeria.