OHANEZE Ndigbo Youth Council (ONYC) has warned Igbo against using face masks imported from China or allow themselves to be treated by Chinese doctors saying they should instead wear made in Aba alternatives.
Like many developing nations, Nigeria was caught totally unprepared by the Covid-19 pandemic, with no local supplies of facemasks, ventilators, testing kits or other required equipment. Because there is no local manufacturing, Nigeria is wholly dependent on imports but with most countries imposing restrictions on imports, this has led to a huge scarcity of face masks.
A few local producers have tried to fill the gap in the market for facemasks with one company starting to mass produce them in Aba, in Abia State. Another company in Cross Rivers State has also began mass-producing facemasks, while automobile assembly plant Innoson has applied for a loan to enable it reconfigure its production line, so it can begin manufacturing ventilators.
OYC president Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, added that the actions of the Chinese doctors, who are desperate to come to Nigeria with 1m face masks, are very suspicious. He added that uncertified sources had raised doubts that such personal preventive equipment being brought by the visiting Chinese doctors may be second hand and capable of infecting Nigerians with the coronavirus.
China is sending an 18-man team of medical experts to Nigeria over the next few days to assist the health authorities with their fight against the coronavirus pandemic. However, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have expressed opposition to plans, saying they were not consulted about it.
According to Mazu Isiguzoro, the desperate attempt to bring in these Chinese doctors against all odds shows that there is more to it, when Aba artisans can produce 1m face masks in one week. He added that the OYC recommends the made in Aba face masks to Ndigbo and Nigerians, as it can verify the source of production and guarantee the safety of the face masks.
Mazu Isiguzoro said: “We urge the federal government to ban any face masks imported from China at this crucial moment. We cannot experiment with PPE imported from China with lives of innocent Nigerians.”
He called on Ndigbo and Nigerians in general to reject any item from these insincere Chinese doctors, as they cannot be trusted. Mazu Isiguzoro added that some government officials are showing desperation over the invitation of Chinese doctors, when the NMA and other sisters organisations had rejected this move.