Nigeria protests maltreatment of citizens in China

Nigerians Being Maltreated In China

Scores of Nigerians and other Africans in Guangzhou, China, have been evicted from their apartments and hotel rooms by Chinese authorities. But the Chinese ambassador in Nigeria has promised to look into the matter, and sort out the issue. Guangzhou is home to one of China’s largest African communities and has become a hub for African traders buying and selling goods to the continent. Online videos show the victims lamenting their inhumane treatment by the authorities who they said had not provided them alternative food or shelter since their eviction. Online rumours that the coronavirus was spreading among thousands of Africans in the city led to door-to-door testing, evictions and accusations of forced quarantine. “We have no house, no food, no hotel,” one student from Nigeria told the BBC. “There are up to 100 people still on the streets. People want to go back to our countries. I don’t know what the problem is with China. Everywhere that Africans live they are pushing us away.” In an open letter by the All African Association of Guangzhou, community leaders called on the authorities to end the “the inhuman treatment, hatred, and outright discrimination of Africans that is currently going on in Guangzhou”. “About 10 African community leaders in Guangzhou are technically under house arrest using the term quarantine. These actions are difficult to comprehend when you consider the fact that these are people whose official test results came back negative just one or two days ago.” The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Thursday tweeted that he invited the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Zhou Pingjian, to communicate government’s concern on the development. In a statement, the Nigerian embassy in Beijing signed by Lawal Bappah, on behalf of the ambassador, said the federal government was now prepared to evacuate Nigerians from China. The minister’s spokesman, Ferdinand Nwonye, told our reporter that he drew the attention of the ambassador to the videos going viral concerning the situation of Nigerians in Guangzhou and after an elaborate discussion, the ambassador promised to look into the matter, promising to sort out the issue and probably get back to the minister. A statement by China’s Deputy Director of Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian on the issue said China treats foreign nationals equally, and has zero tolerance for discrimination. “In China, our most urgent task is to prevent imported cases of domestic resurgence. To meet this goal we need understanding, support and cooperation from both Chinese and foreign nationals in China. “In the meantime, we pay high attention to the occasional incidents and misunderstanding in this process,” he added. He therefore called on relevant authorities to improve working methods and urged all foreigners in the country to observe local anti-epidemic regulations.

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