"Do not make your laws discriminatory" -NIDCOM
Nigeria Warns Against Inhuman Treatment of Its Citizens in China
Authorities in Nigeria have warned the Chinese government against what they described as inhuman treatment against some Nigerians in Beijing.
This followed viral media reports/videos from Beijing showing Nigerians being forced out of their houses and hotels, rounded up and their passports seized by the Chinese police.
The viral videos also showed some Nigerians being forced into another 14-day quarantine after the initial 14 days they spent for same purpose over the Covid-19 pandemic in China.
The Speaker of the House, Representatives in Nigeria, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila said at a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, that the inhuman treatment on Nigerians in China must be addressed forthwith. He confronted the Ambassador with the protest video of the incidence where a Nigerian was seen challenging Chinese officials over the maltreatment.
Mr Gbajabiamila demanded for an official explanation on why Nigerians were treated in such manner.
“If the diplomatic relationships between our two countries are for the mutual benefits of our citizens, then there must be respect for our citizens, and we should not compromise it.
“As a government, we will not allow Chinese or other nationals to be maltreated just as we will not allow Nigerians to be maltreated in other countries.
“The way you treat your citizens, we expect that’s how you’ll treat others. We will not tolerate our citizens breaking your laws, but the crime of one citizen cannot be used to stigmatize the whole country.
“It appears that’s what happened in this case. You can’t use one brush to smear the whole wall. Whatever the reason, it cannot be used and taken out on the entire community in China,” he said, while asking the Chinese Ambassador if he had taken up the issue with his home country.
The Speaker said the House will expect a feedback from the Ambassador as soon as possible, saying “We are glad you are looking into it but we are hoping to have it at least by Tuesday.
“It is better we nip it in the bud so that it doesn’t escalate to another level. So, by Tuesday, if you have the information to give us, if steps have been taken, let’s talk about it and let’s see the way forward.”
In his response, Ambassador Pingjian said though he has not been officially informed about the details of the incidence but that he would take it up with the home government.
“We take our relationship with Nigeria very seriously. Until we receive a full report from back home, I cannot act, but I can assure you it is not a policy issue.
“We treat everyone equally, but during the implementation of the COVID-19 measures in China, it is possible for some incidents; all I do is to take it back home, today I will,” he said
The meeting had in attendance the Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu and Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Toby Okechukwu.
From the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM)
Also lending her voice to the issue, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa reiterated the resolve of the Federal Government to ensure the protection of all Nigerians wherever they are.
This was contained in statement signed by the Head of Media and Public Relations Unit, NIDCOM in Abuja, Abdur-Rahman Balogun,
Abike warned against discriminatory tendencies by the Chinese authorities, saying “While we expect Nigerians to obey laws of other countries, especially in these trying times, we also ask the Chinese authorities not to make their laws discriminatory , as consultations continue between both countries to find an amicable solution to the issues at hand.”
The statement further stated, “Series of meetings have been held between Nigerian officials and Chinese officials to resolve the impasse, while the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Geoffrey Onyeama has also met with the Chinese Ambassador in Nigeria on the issue.”
15-Person Chinese Medical Team in Nigeria
On Wednesday, 8 April, 2020 A 15-person medical team from China arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja aboard an Air Peace chartered flight, at about 4.30PM.
That was after days of protests by some groups in Nigeria, especially medical experts who believe the decision to bring in expatriates from China would undermine the capacity of experts in country and also expose the country to danger since COVID-19 started in China.
The team was received by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, to complement the efforts of the government to contain the coronavirus in Nigeria.
The team also arrived with medical supplies from China, which is the second batch of supplies Nigeria has received from abroad since the outbreak of Coronavirus. The first batch of medical supplies from Istanbul, Turkey, airlifted by the Air Peace.
On Friday during a press briefing in Abuja, the Minister of health, Dr Ehanire while responding to questions about the Chinese medical experts, said they are currently quarantined and the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, was in touch with them.