China slams Ezekwesili, others over demand for COVID-19 compensation

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Former Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili and others demanding compensation from China over COVID-19 pandemic have elicited a scathing response from the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria.

The response came in a Sunday statement signed by Press Secretary of the Chinese embassy in Nigeria, Sun Saixiong.

The Herald recalls that Ezekwesili, a former Vice-President of the World Bank’s Africa division, in an article published by Washington Post accused the world’s most-populous nation of mismanaging the virus at the onset.

She noted that since the virus emanated from Wuhan, in Central China’s Hubei Province, the Asian nation should “pay reparations to Africa for its coronavirus failures”.

“The continent must be accorded damages and liability compensation from China, the rich and powerful country that failed to transparently and effectively manage this global catastrophe,” her article read in part.

But in its response, the Embassy said Ezekwesili’s submissions “make no sense at all”.

Saixiong noted that China has been open, transparent and responsible since the outbreak of the disease.

Read Also: Don’t jeopardise your lives as lockdown eases – PDP tells Nigerians, says Buhari mismanaged COVID-19 response

Stating that China has “made tremendous sacrifices and made significant contributions to the global response”, Saixiong stressed that “the virus is a common enemy to all mankind and may strike anytime, anywhere. Like other countries, China is also a victim, not a perpetrator, even less an accomplice of COVID-19.”

“In the face of major public health crises and infectious diseases, the international community should stand in solidarity and work together, not resort to mutual accusation or demand retribution and accountability. As we recall, there has never been any precedence of the latter.

“Did anyone ask the US to offer compensations for the 2009 H1N1 flu, which was first diagnosed before breaking out on a large scale in the US and then spread to 214 countries and regions, killing nearly 200,000 people?

“AIDS was first reported in the US in the 1980s and then swept across the world, including Africa, causing untold sufferings to countless victims. And we don’t remember Mrs. Ezekwesili coming forward to ask the US to be held accountable?

“The financial turmoil in the US triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 turned into a global financial crisis. Did anyone ask the US to take the consequences?” he queried.

He called on Ezekwesili to respect facts, science, and international consensus and “stop letting herself dance to other’s tune, stop attacking and blaming China for nothing, and stop making irresponsible remarks”.

 

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