Statement of the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard (RSV), Nigeria [Sympathizing section of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT)], 10th April, 2020, http://www.revolutionarysocialistvanguard.WordPress.com




The extension of the lock down period by a week confirms the cluelessness and confusion of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) on how to tackle the pandemic or how best to sustain the panic mode in the country. This time around the extension comes with the arrival of Chinese medical equipment and personnel which the Nigerian government and the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, claim will bolster the fight against the virus just as has been successfully done in China for the past 76 days.


A good number of Nigerians are averse to this development and this bad blood is not only understandable but legitimate. Naturally we are against all forms of chauvinism sponsored against the Chinese and other people of Asia in this time of the pandemic. The racial conspiracy theories and campaign of chauvinism characteristically sponsored by imperialists in East and West are weapons in a Great power rivalry which are mostly capable of atomising the masses and damaging international working class solidarity.


However the arrival of this medical expatriates occurs against the backdrop of certain contradictions. That is why the unwelcoming atmosphere was prepared first and is being led by the Nigeria Medical Association and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD). A proposed strike action coincided with the outbreak of the virus in Nigeria[1] but it is difficult to say why the doctors did not proceed with it. The nature of their antipathy to this move of the Nigerian government are buried deep in the dissatisfactions that almost led to the strike early last month coupled with a general distrust in both the Chinese and Nigerian administrations as a report from the Guardian Newspaper indicates:


The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), in a statement by its president, Dr. Francis Adedayo Faduyile….described the plan as an embarrassment to members and other health workers fighting COVID-19 under deplorable conditions… NARD President Dr Sokomba Aliyu warned that Chinese scientists could not be trusted, given how unreliably and covertly they had allegedly managed information about the pandemic…”If the Federal Government had completely employed the available qualified doctors and other healthcare workers before turning to China for medical manpower, to fill any persisting gap, it would have to be less suspicious.” The association wondered if the Chinese medical experts would accept N5,000 as monthly hazard allowance. He urged the government to use the COVID-19 opportunity to upgrade the nation’s healthcare facilities and motivate health workers at the frontline by increasing their hazard allowance from the current N5,000 to N200,000.” [2]


The observations raised by these doctors have absolute validity. Again, According to WHO sources the rate of doctors to citizens is 1:64,000 as opposed to the recommended 1:600.[3] Thus, the 18 man team of Chinese medical personnel would do almost nothing to ameliorate the deteriorated state of the Nigerian health sector. If the Nigerian government must mimic any initiative of the Chinese government to combat the virus let them begin an immediate expansion and rejuvenation of the health care system like the building of maximum capacity hospitals in Wuhan. All private hospitals, medical laboratorie, and facilities must be nationalised; more health workers must be employed; and the education system funded properly.


Besides the Nigerian bourgeoisie has not responded to other more lethal outbreaks as it now does. A telling indication of this is how the Nigerian government have loosely handled the outbreak of Lassa fever. The disease which is transmitted via a zoonotic factor from Mastomys rodents, after which it is transmissible from man to man, infects about 100,000 to 300,000 people around the world annually with 5000 deaths per year. Some figures put the rate of infection at 300,000 to 500,000 annually.[4] According to figures from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) cases of Lassa fever have been confirmed in 27 out of 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja:


Between January 1 and March 15, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control reported 161 deaths of Lassa fever patients, with 3,735 suspected cases and 906 confirmed cases, across twenty-seven of Nigeria’s thirty-six states. For the same period in 2019, Lassa killed 114 with 1801 suspected cases and 455 confirmed cases across twenty-one states, but the 906 confirmed cases for 2020 is already greater than the 810 confirmed cases for all of 2019. Lassa fever is known to have a case fatality rate as high as 23 percent,…[5]


The figures for COVID-19 (288 confirmed, 7 deceased) [6] fall considerably short of the cases of Lassa fever yet the measures to curb its spread are not nearly commensurate to that of SARS-CoV-2. Like SARS-CoV-2, Lassa fever too has no vaccine and there is no internationally approved treatment for its cure despite the fact that it has been around since 1969.[7] Perhaps it is because it is most rampant in the global south, (about 6 cases in the US)[8] West Africa to be precise.


We conclude by saying while we posit that international workers solidarity involving both medical and non-medical workers is the solution, far reaching changes in the health sector can be achieved through a radical campaign against privatization and for the nationalization of the health sector under the democratic control of the workers.


Hence this move can be characterized as an imperialist intervention by a world power to save its servant in the semi-colonies who might be in an existential crises due to the outbreak of the disease. Just as we have warned that the Nigerian ruling class is reluctant to impose complete travel bans or total lock downs because of its distrust in a system it has crippled with its corruption. This move again confirms the shift in capitalist hegemonic power from the US/Western imperialism to China.


In all, no time has ever been more suitable for us to fight for the rebirth of a standard health sector that works for all and by all yet this fight is not only for medical practitioners or health workers alone it is a fight for all workers and oppressed. We must fight for a monumental pay rise for these heroes. We must not desert these health workers who are in constant strain to keep us alive even at this time. Rather we must fight with them and NOW (!) is the time for this fight!






[1] https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/382302-amidst-coronavirus-crisis-abuja-doctors-begin-strike.html


[2] https://m.guardian.ng/news/outrage-over-governments-move-to-invite-chinese-doctors/




[3] https://www.premiumtimesng.com/business/business-data/378518-analysis-nigeria-and-the-kiss-of-debt-part-1.html


[4] https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/lassa/index.html




[5] https://www.cfr.org/blog/lassa-fever-time-coronavirus-nigeria, https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/381433-lassa-fever-nigerias-death-toll-reaches-144.html


[6] http://saharareporters.com/2020/04/09/breaking-nigeria-records-14-new-coronavirus-cases-total-now-288


[7] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lassa_fever




[8] https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/lassa/resources/index.html