The 11 lawyers accuse China of failing to promptly inform the World Health Organization, WHO, about the virus. The suit filed in a Nigeria court has now attracted the attention of the Chinese government which has dismissed it as “frivolous” attempt by the lawyers to get the compensation for the coronavirus pandemic, which originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The Chinese government through its Embassy in Nigeria 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.”
The statement released on Twitter noted that, ”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 first to publish guidelines for treatment and containment. In the fight against Covid-19, solidarity and co-operation is our most powerful weapon.”
The case instituted by the lawyers is yet to be heard at the Abuja High Court. However, the statement by the Chinese government is coming at a time the lawyers are planning to pressure the Nigerian government to institute a state action against China at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The statement is urging the lawyers for mutual trust rather than stoking the situation.