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Leading opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Mohammadu Buhari laughs during an interview on February 6, 2015. Nigeria’s main opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari on Friday told AFP he was expecting to win next week’s presidential election by a wide margin, despite talk of a close race. The February 14 poll, in which he is challenging incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, has been seen as too close to call, leading to a possible run-off if neither man secures a first-round majority. AFP PHOTO /STRINGER

…asks FG to rescind the decision By Levinus Nwabughiogu Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives has said that the importation of Chinese doctors into Nigeria will be against the national interests of the country. It, therefore, asked the federal government to immediately jettison the decision

It will be recalled that the Federal government had concluded plans to bring in 18 Chinese doctors to assist local health professionals in the fight against coronavirus.

On Monday, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and the Minister of State for Health, Dr Mamora met with the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila and a few members of the House leadership to convince them on the importance of the visit by the Chinese. Both parties eventually agreed but the Speaker left a caveat that the doctors must be quarantined for 14 days amid other immigration protocols upon arrival to Nigeria. But barely 24 hours after the meeting, the House minority caucus which included all the opposition parties in the parliament rejected the agreement. The caucus, in a statement issued by its Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, on Tuesday, warned that bringing in medical personnel from the epicentre of the dreaded disease will expose the nation to further danger. The opposition said that the plans to import doctors from the hotbed of the plague into our country at this critical time of national history will be inimical to the common good of the country. The lawmakers noted that Nigerian doctors and nurses are doing well so far in managing the scourge, and expressed fears that “bringing in Chinese medical personnel, whose status, intentions and scope cannot be easily ascertained and controlled is totally against our national interest” Elumelu in the statement added that the Federal Government should note the apprehensions of Nigerians and professional bodies including the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) over the decision. He noted that “this is particularly after alleged escalated of the pandemic in certain countries after Chinese doctors were reportedly involved, in addition to widespread trepidations over the safety of medical equipment and kits from China at this point in time.” The Minority leader stressed that “at such critical time, the safety and wellbeing of our citizens must be paramount and anything that is capable of further jeopardizing their lives must be avoided.” Elumelu however commended Nigerians for their resilience and collaborative effort in fighting the spread of the pandemic in the country. He urged them to “continue to adhere to health safety procedures of personal hygiene and social distancing as well as being their brother’s keepers at this time”, while expressing confidence that with the combined effort of all, the nation will defeat the pandemic.

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