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Saturday, 18 April 2020

COVID–19: Nigerians Facing Maltreatment In China, Foreign Affairs Minister Admits

COVID–19: Nigerians Facing Maltreatment In China, Foreign Affairs Minister Admits

After several weeks of denial of maltreatment of Nigerians in China, Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, has finally admitted the development.

At a media briefing on Friday evening, Onyeama said fresh facts available to him revealed that the Chinese Ambassador in Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, has been economical with truth on discriminatory practises against Nigerians and, by extension, citizens of other African countries resident in Chinese cities.

The Foreign Affairs Minister had on Tuesday said information made available to him by the African consulates and the Chinese authorities when he sought clarification on the trending videos of alleged discriminatory practises against Africans have revealed that half truths were contained in the videos.

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But at a briefing on Friday to update newsmen on development in China, Onyeama said fresh facts made available to him by the Nigerian Ambassador to China, Baba Ahmed Jidda, as well as other African ambassadors in China, who met with the Chinese Foreign Ministry pointed to the fact that the country has not been treating Nigerians with dignity.

He however said the Chinese Ambassador had again reassured him after the latter was summoned for the second time that there would be no further maltreatment of any Nigerian or Africans in Guangdong Province, in Guangzhou or anywhere else in China.

He said: “After we had made a statement in the media, I continued to receive information from Nigerians in China and I engaged directly with our officials in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province and people who were right on the ground.

“And I must say that contrary to what we had believed that the situation was now fully under control and stabilise and there were no longer any issues, it became apparent that there were still very distressing incidents and that it was almost as if it was an institutional attack on the rights and dignity of Nigerians and Africans there.

“So, as I said, with confirmation from people who were there, I again, invited today, the Chinese Ambassador and presented these facts to him. I said look, contrary to what was agreed, to the promises that had been made and guarantees given, that the situation does not seem to have ameliorated and this was totally unacceptable.

“That we have stories of Nigerians who had been evicted from their residences, who were unable to get back in; hotels where they had gone to be isolated, they had been moved and put in more expensive hotels and Nigerians not being served when they went to restaurants and to shopping malls and so forth. And this was totally unacceptable and something needed to be done.”

Onyeama who insisted that there was no justifiable reason to trample on rights of Africans in China further revealed that plans were in the offing to commence evacuation of Nigerians.

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