Lawmakers in Nigeria’s Federal House of Representatives on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, kicked against a motion to evacuate Nigerians trapped in China, following the outbreak of the Coronavirus respiratory disease.
The outbreak has killed close to 500 persons so far–most of them in mainland China–with some 20,000 people infected worldwide.
Nigerians in China who spoke exclusively to Pulse, say they have been begging President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to bring them back home.
They also say they are scared stiff and worried as the virus continues its spread in the epicenter Chinese province of Wuhan.
However, lawmakers massively voted against the motion to bring them home through a voice vote, during a heated plenary session. The motion was raised by House spokesperson, Benjamin Kalu (Abia, APC).
Better facilities in China
In rejecting the motion, the lawmakers said China has better facilities to handle the situation than Nigeria; and that Nigerians in China would be better off remaining in the Asian country.
Chants of: “It is not true, they are not willing to come back”, “No Nigerian is stranded in China”, rented the air before Nicholas Ossai (Delta, PDP) moved a point of order seeking for the motion to be gazetted and listed on the order paper.
Efforts by Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, to calm the lawmakers and allow Kalu move his motion and make his point, proved abortive as the lawmakers shouted him down time and again.
ChannelsTV reports that drama ensued when two other sponsors of the bill who should have supported Kalu’s motion, developed cold feet and refused to do so.
Coronavirus has now killed more people than the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic of 2003.