Again, Nigerian students stranded in Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus, have protested within the places they are holed up, pleading for evacuation.
They said they may not survive the next coming week as food, mask and fluid dry up.
Carrying placards with different inscriptions, they pleaded to be brought home.
Daily Mail had reported few weeks ago of the dire situation confronting them and how Nigerian Embassy in China had abandoned them.
But following various reports, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, denied the Government was not ready to evacuate them rather blaming Nigerians stranded there of their unwillingness to return home.
Lai had said, 16 Nigerians who are in Wuhan had not indicated interest to return home.
“I know we have Nigerians in Wuhan; our Embassy in China has confirmed that we have about 16 Nigerians in Wuhan and they are in touch with them. They have, however, not indicated their interest to come home. They will, however, contact our embassy if they like to come home,” he had said at a press conference in Abuja.
However, a Nigerian resident in Wuhan said there are over 50 Nigerians who are in the city at the moment, a report from the Cable indicates.
He said they were all willing to leave China because of the situation. The businessman, who did not want to be named, expressed fears that things could get worse.
“When this virus broke out, the Nigerian embassy in China contacted us and asked us to form a group on WeChat (a multipurpose messaging social media app) where all Nigerians who are in Wuhan could communicate on the latest development,” he said.
“We told them that none of us had contacted the virus but we were worried and needed to be evacuated. But they told us to exercise patience since no country had evacuated its citizens because of the outbreak.
“We then asked them to provide us with face masks and some items that we could use, especially those of who have children. Purchasing items have been difficult since the outbreak of this epidemic.
“The masks are no longer available in stores that open briefly on a daily basis and if you go online, they are very expensive. We are 57 Nigerians in Wuhan and government has banned public movement without masks. We expected the embassy to assist us with this but nothing of such happened.”
The man said all efforts to reach Ahmad Jidda, Nigerian ambassador to China, and Bakori Aliyu Usman, an official of the Nigerian embassy in Beijing who contacted them in the early days of the outbreak, have ended in futility.
The Cable also reported that another Nigerian resident in Wuhan said that they are worried that the Nigerian embassy in China is not handling the situation properly.
He said other countries have started evacuating their citizens because of the situation but Nigerians do not know their fate.
“The other day we read in the news that we are just 16 Nigerians in Wuhan; this is a pure lie. We are over 50 Nigerians here as I speak to you. We have been abandoned by government; we called the consulate in Shanghai, no response, we reached out to consulate in Guangzhou still no assurance.”
“The situation is getting out of hand. There is a Nigerian here who just came on a visit; he was about returning home when this virus broke out here; now he is trapped.
“There is a student who was sick and was finding it difficult to get adequate treatment here; plans were being made to move him out of China before this issue of coronavirus outbreak, now he is also trapped.
“There are people with children here, how does the government expect them to cope when the city is virtually on lock down?
“We are stranded here; the federal government should please rescue us… shops are closed, banks shut, we find it difficult to get the things we need. Although, we are not out of cash or foodstuff, we don’t know how long this situation will continue.”
He said they have written to Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chairperson of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), seeking help but no form of assistance has been rendered.