China reaffirms commitment to protect Nigerian students, other foreign nationals

Ambassador Zhuo Pingjian, Ambassador of China to Nigeria, on Tuesday reaffirmed the country’s commitment to ensure the well-being of Nigerian students and other foreign nationals in China.
Pingjian said this at the meeting with stakeholders of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, China Alumni Association of Nigeria and Parents of Nigerian students in China, which held in Abuja.
He extolled the Federal Government for standing by China in difficult times, saying the COVID-19 has come and would go, adding that the outbreak is just temporary but friendship and cooperation are forever.
According to him, the Chinese Government attaches great importance to the safety and well-being of foreign nationals, including foreign students.
Pingjian said: “The Foreign Ministry has directed relevant local departments to take the protection of foreign nationals in China as a high priority and to work hard to address difficulties.
“Please be assured that we will take all necessary and effective measures to protect the health and safety of Nigerian students in China.
“We have enhanced information disclosure; local departs have kept foreign nationals informed in an open and transparent way via websites, WeChat, Weibo and e-mail.
“Posting on the epidemic situation through public letters, releasing information on self-protection, opening 24-hour multilingual hotlines.
“The host provinces and municipalities of consular missions have held news briefing or video conferences to share updates on the latest development of the epidemic and answer questions.”
Pingjian said as at February 19, 29 foreign nationals were diagnosed with COVID-19, with 10 in Hubei province, 18 recovered and discharged cases, two deaths and nine cases under treatment in isolation.
He further noted that that there were no reported cases of Nigerians being diagnosed with COVID-19 in China.
He also said there are 5400-plus international students in Hubei province, including 50 Nigerian students in Wuhan, saying all the Universities had taken measures to contain the outbreak of the disease.
Speaking at the event, Aisha Dewa, Assistant Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commended the Chinese Government for efforts to arrest the spread of coronavirus.
Dewa said Nigeria stands with China in the difficult challenge and assured of plans by government to assist China arrest of the situation.
According to her: “China cannot solve the problem alone because it is a global issue; we will do everything humanly possible to partner with China and address this situation.
“Nigerian Embassy in China had been in touch with Nigerian students and other Nigerians, and encouraged them to adhere to safety guidelines by Wuhan Regional Government and Central Government of China.
“We are pleased Nigerians in that country are really cooperating and taking instruction from the embassy and the embassy is doing its best within limited resources it has to assist them.
“We confirm that we have not received any case involving Nigerian with the virus, which is good news.”
Dewa observed Nigerians in that country had called for government intervention to be evacuated, but said such measure should be considered a last option based on efforts to tackle the situation.
Also speaking, Dr. Morenike Alex-Okoh, Director Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health, said the ministry is putting measures on ground to prevent the disease.
Alex-Okoh said: “COVID-19 is now in 39 countries, so Nigeria is strengthening preparedness to prevent importation and mount adequate response, should it come here.
“I believe that for Nigerians in China, as long as they abide by the public health measures and the World Health Organisation guidelines, they will be protected.”
In his remark, Muhammad Sulaiman, President of Chinese Alumni Association, promised to continue to assist Nigerian students to promote their safety and health of Nigerian expatriates in that country.
Sulaiman said: “It is in solidarity with the students in affected areas that we pledge N600,000, which will be delivered through the proper channel.
“This is as support to alleviate the hardship currently being experienced by Nigerian students living in the affected areas of Wuhan and its environ.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the high point of the event was the presentation of the Bank cash-cheque of N600,000 by the Association’s executive to the envoy.