China has dismissed as “frivolous” an attempt by Nigerian lawyers to get compensation for the coronavirus pandemic, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The 11 lawyers accuse China of failing to promptly inform the World Health Organization (WHO) about the virus. They are demanding $200bn (£158bn) in damages for the “loss of lives, economic strangulation, trauma, hardship, social disorientation, mental torture and disruption of normal daily existence of people in Nigeria”.
But the Chinese embassy in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, said the case lacked basis in international law.
“Covid-19 has caught the whole world by surprise. China, like other countries, is a victim. Confronted by an unknown virus, we have acted responsibly to protect people’s life and health and safeguard global public health,”it said in statement on Twitter
“China was the first country to report cases to WHO and promptly share information with relevant countries and regions, the first to sequence the genome of the virus and share it with the world, the the first to publish guidelines for treatment and containment.
“In the fight against Covid-19, solidarity and co-operation is our most powerful weapon.”
The embassy urged the lawyers, who are planning to persuade the government to institute a state action against China at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, to do more to enhance mutual trust rather than hyping up the situation. The case has yet to be heard at Nigeria’s High Court. BBC
Pix: President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and Xi Jinping of China