The Chinese embassy in Nigeria has berated those demanding compensation from the Asian country over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus was first recorded in Wuhan, China, and the country has been accused of mismanaging the outbreak.
The embassy, in an article published in The Guardian, took a jab at Oby Ezekwesili, a former minister of education, who said the country must “pay reparations to Africa for its coronavirus failures”.
Ezekwesili had written: “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.”
However, reacting on Sunday, Sun Saixiong, press secretary of the Chinese embassy in Nigeria, said Ezekwesili’s comments “make no sense at all”.
Saixiong said China has taken “the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures” to contain the spread of the disease, and has also “made tremendous sacrifices and made significant contributions to the global response”.
“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,” he added.
“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?”
The official said the world must understand that “our enemy is the virus, not China” and it can only defeat COVID-19 by “pulling together” not “attacking and discrediting others”.
“We hope that Mrs. Ezekwesili will respect facts, science, and international consensus, stop letting herself dance to other’s tune, stop attacking and blaming China for nothing, and stop making irresponsible remarks,” he added