From Yusuf Alli, Abuja

Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, said his country decided to assist because Nigeria was at the “most demanding stage of its outbreak response.”

He spoke when he received 12 Chinese doctors and three other technicians.

It was also learnt that the team will engage in technical sessions with Nigerian doctors and other health workers on how to contain COVID-19 pandemic.

The medics were airlifted into Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja by Air Peace at about 4.20 pm.

The flight was said to have left Beijing on Monday with a stop-over in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before coming to Nigeria.

Pingjian said China’s intervention was necessary because “a friend in need is a friend indeed.”

He also said the help was in line with “international humanitarianism and vision advocated by President Xi Jinping of building a community with a shared a future for mankind.”

He said: “The COVID-19 outbreak is the public enemy number one worldwide, for now. Our most powerful weapon to defeat the pandemic is solidarity and cooperation.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed. China will always remember the invaluable support it received from the Government and good people of Nigeria at the most demanding stage of its outbreak response.

“The Chinese are grateful people. As a Chinese saying goes, “give a plum in return for a peach”.

“Helping Nigeria at the latter’s request is one way to reciprocate its kindness and friendship. It is also in line with international humanitarianism and vision advocated by President Xi Jinping of building a community with a shared future for mankind.

“China would never stand by and leave its friends in difficulty. The help China offers does not involve any selfish interest.

“We have full confidence in Nigeria’s determination, capacity, and capability to defeat the virus ultimately. And we believe Nigeria will continue to treat the Chinese nationals here in Nigeria as its own.

“Despite the daunting task of epidemic control remaining at home, China firmly supports Nigeria’s fight against the outbreak and stands ready to assist, if needed, to the best of its capacity.

“We will continue to share experience and try our best to provide medical supplies to Nigeria in a bid to prevail over the outbreak together. In this regard, we encourage Chinese companies like CRCC, CCECC to do more within their means to fulfil corporate social responsibility.

“China will continue to prove itself as a good friend, partner, and brother of Nigeria through concrete actions. This joint battle against the COVID-19 pandemic will surely strengthen trust and cooperation between China and Nigeria.”

On its part, the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), through its subsidiary China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), gave insights into the technical assistance being offered Nigeria.

It unfolded plans to build two COVID-19 response facilities in the FCT for free as of its Corporate Social Responsibilities.