By Myke Uzendu/Agency Reports
The Chinese Government has rejected service of pre-action notice from a group of Nigerians asking to be paid USD200 billion damages over the adverse effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Nigeria.
The Azinge and Azinge law firm handling the action on Monday stated that the Chinese President’s office in Beijing, refused to accept the court service sent to him via a reputable international courier compamy, DHL.
But they are optimistic that the Chinese Embassy in Abuja will receive the court summons, stressing however that whether or not they received the documents, they will commence the legal processes after June 1st, except they conceded to their request to pay damages.
The AUTHORITY had exclusively reported that Azinge Azinge and Co Law Chambers had written the Chinese President, the Ministry of Health, and other agencies, informing them of commencement of a law suit against them if by June 1st they had not paid the USD200 billion damages for the deaths and tumbling economic problems following the outbreak of the virus.
The law firm had in the letter accused the Chinese government of failing to take appropriate action after a scientific experiment they were making in Wuhan, China, turned awry and led to Corona virus disease that has crippled economic activities and brought deaths round the world, including in Nigeria.
Prof. Epiphany Azinge (SAN), whose law firm, is leading the action along with other Nigerian lawyers, said in a statement The AUTHORITY published Monday that it will sue China for the adverse effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on the country and its citizens.
“The team of law experts planned a two-phase line of action-: first is at the Federal High Court of Nigeria and secondly to persuade the government of Federal Republic of Nigeria to institute a state action against the People’s Republic of China at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague.
“The legal experts will be claiming damages to the tune of $200 billion dollars. The Chinese Government will be served through its Embassy in Nigeria,” Azinge said in the statement.
Although the Chinese government through its Ambassador, Mr. Zhou Pingjian said the lawyers were not being realistic and that his country even suffered more than any other country, the lead counsel said their action has already generated international attention.
He said however told Global Patriots Newspaper that they are not deterred, pointing out that their cause is just and intentions noble.
Mr. Pingjian had said in a statement that “attacking and discrediting other countries will not save the time and lives lost.
“We urge that the legal practitioners should do more things to enhance mutual trust and help epidemic prevention and control in both countries, rather than dancing to the tune of a certain country to hype up the situation.”
He explained further that since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has been open, transparent and responsible and has taken the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures to contain its spread.
Zhou Pingjian said: “China has made tremendous sacrifices and accumulated valuable experiences and made significant contributions to the global responses against coronavirus.
“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 and even less an accomplice of COVID-19.
“In the face of major public health crisis and infectious disease, the international community should stand in solidarity and work together not resort to mutual accusation or demand retribution and accountability.
“Currently, China is standing together with Nigeria in the global fight against COVID-19. Our people are joining hands to overcome the current difficulties.”
Global Patriot had reported that an Egyptian lawyer has pressed charges against the Chinese President Xi Jinping, calling on his country to pay $10 trillion in damages caused by the novel coronavirus in Egypt.
Also, last week, the US State of Missouri filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government over the virus, alleging that the nation’s officials are to blame for the global pandemic.