Since the outbreak of coronavirus in Nigeria, the government has responded actively and immediately took measures to lockdown the city and impose a curfew. With the announcement by the Nigerian government that it would open in phases from May 4, Namdi Azikwe University returned to work. The Confucius Institute at Namdi Azikwe University was also planning further work.
During this special period, on April 30, Professor Charles Esimone, President of Namdi Azikwe University and Director of the Confucius Institute, personally delivered to the teachers of the Confucius Institute hand sanitizer, which was produced by the School of Medicine of the University. Since taking up his new position as the CI Director in August 2018, Professor Charles Esimone has been very supportive of the work of the Confucius Institute and cared about the teachers. He has invited teachers to his home many times. During the pandemic, he effectively guaranteed the safety and health of all teachers of the Confucius Institute.
Shortly after the lockdown of the city, a suspicious person carrying a homemade gun was found in the Confucius Institute. Security guards were not available due to the government’s lockdown of the city. After receiving the news, Professor Charles Esimone notified the University’s chief security officer to go to the Confucius Institute in the first time to strengthen security. He also gave the chief security officer’s personal mobile phone number to the Confucius Institute teachers so that they could reach him for help in case of any emergency.
Under the strong lockdown of the University during the pandemic, electricians, cleaners, water delivery workers, lawn mowers (the grass in Nigeria grows fast and needs to be mowed regularly to keep the grass low and to prevent snakes), and other logistics personnel in the Confucius Institute could not come to work in time. Water and electricity supply and garbage disposal became major problems. After being informed of the situation, Professor Charles Esimone personally coordinated various departments to deal with the situation, and all problems of the Confucius Institute were resolved in time.
During this period, it was rumored that Professor Charles Esimone was tested positive of coronavirus because he, as Director of the Confucius Institute, has more contacts with Chinese teachers of the Confucius Institute. As a result, it was easy for some people who did not know the truth to have prejudice against Chinese teachers here. The widespread rumor caused much pressure on Confucius Institute teachers. For all of this, the President asked the University to make a public statement refuting the rumor, and separately listed all the trips of those Chinese teachers who returned to China at the end of last year (all of them were told to stay in China and thus have not returned to Nigeria so far)，so as to convince people that people on both sides are safe from the virus.
The great care given by the President of Namdi Azikwe University has touched the CI teachers deeply, and it also makes the friendship particularly precious in this special period.
(The Southern Base of Confucius Institute Headquarters / Office of Confucius Institute Affairs,
The Confucius Institute at Namdi Azikwe University, Nigeria)