Nigerian students in Wuhan, the epicentre of China’s Coronavirus outbreak, have cried out for help from the Nigerian Government, saying that they wished to return home immediately.
Speaking through the Nigerian Students Association in Wuhan, the young men and women asked government not to abandon them in the Asian country because their lives were increasingly under threat by the deadly disease.
In a ‘save our soul’ message issued, the students said that though no Nigerian had been diagnosed with the virus, there was the need to urgently move them out of the city so as to avoid any contact, which could in turn extend to other places including Nigeria.
The plea reads, “We are happy to inform you that no Nigerian has been infected by the dreaded coronavirusCovid-19.
“However, it has come to us as a rude shock the news circulating in print and electronic media, which suggests that Nigerians in Wuhan have not expressed interest to be evacuated.
“We are compelled to reject reports emanating from the government, this time from the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, stating that the Nigerian Embassy in China informed him that no Nigerian in China had expressed willingness to be evacuated.
“We also want to seize this opportunity to dispel the notion circulating along the corridors of power and general public that all Nigerians in Wuhan are being sponsored and catered for by the Chinese Government.
“We urge the public to disregard these news reports or any official communication that suggest otherwise. We all have been deeply affected psychologically. We are pleading to be evacuated.
“The critical situation also attracted relevant organisations such as NIDO China and NIDO East China, to help ensure our plight is adequately communicated to the Nigerian Government.
“This is in addition to the many interviews granted by Nigerians trapped in Wuhan via various media outlets as well as an open letter to the President by one of the Nigerians in Wuhan requesting for evacuation.
“There are 65 Nigerians (excluding 14 children) currently under lock-down over a period 25 days and counting. As the number of cases increases and the death toll now stands at over 1500, we are in constant fear because an uncertainty looms about the general situation of things.
“There are vulnerable groups amongst us: children, pregnant women and some in need of urgent and continuous medical attention. Families are living in constant fear of contracting the virus, seeking medical attention for unforeseen ailments, running out of food and water.
“There is no gainsaying, several countries have evacuated their citizens-including some African countries. The urgency with which they acted demonstrates their awareness of the gravity of the situation; as well as the premium of their citizens.
“Recently, our plight was brought up in the House of Representatives; precisely on the issue of evacuation. To our utter dismay and disappointment, it was treated with derision and not worth debating on the floor of the House.
“We are appealing to concerned citizens and reputable organizations to press for the evacuation of fellow compatriots, family, friends and children trapped in Wuhan. We urge the public to once more, as you have done on many countless occasions, express your humanity and respond to our appeal.”
The deadly virus has killed over 2,000 persons from around the world and extended to many countries with health workers battling to arrest the situation.