The Federal Government has said the visas of the 15-man medical team that arrived in Nigeria during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have expired.
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Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, disclosed this during the daily press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to Aregbesola, the Chinese nationals came on a 30-day visa from Beijing, the capital of China.
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He explained that the medical experts, who were invited to the country by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), could not return to China due to the ban on flights and closure of airports.
“They are here on the bill of CCECC, a Chinese company working in Nigeria and doing some projects.”
“They came on a 30-day Visa issued in Beijing and I don’t think I need to tell you why they are here. They are still here not because they have not completed their job but because there is a restriction on travels in Nigeria occasioned by the protocol of COVID-19 team,” Aregbesola said.
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The presence of the Chinese experts, who arrived on 8 April, has been one of the subjects of controversies among Nigerians because the COVID-19 pandemic was first discovered in Wuhan, the capital of the Chinese province of Hubei.
Despite welcoming the team at the airport on their arrival, Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, asked journalists to stop asking him about their whereabouts, insisting that they were not invited to the country by the Federal Government.
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Michael Yigao, Managing Director of CCECC, told reporters on Monday that the Chinese medical experts are working with the company