Gbajabiamila Demands end to Maltreatment of Nigerians in China

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Femi Gbajabiamila

By Udora Orizu

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has taken a swipe at the ill-treatment of Nigerians in China, warning that such should stop. He handed down the warning at a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, confronting him with the protest video of an incident where a Nigerian was seen challenging Chinese officials over the maltreatment.

Viral videos from Beijing showed Nigerians being forced out of their houses and hotels, rounded up and their passports seized by the Chinese police, prompting the Speaker to complain of the inhuman treatment of Nigerians which he said must be addressed forthwith.

Gbajabiamila said there should be an official explanation for treating Nigerians in such a manner.

He said, “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 stigmatise 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.”

Gbajabiamila added that the House would expect feedback from the Ambassador as soon as possible.

In his response, Ambassador Pingjian said though he had not been officially informed about the details of the incidence, 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 Speaker also sought to understand the specific mandate of the Chinese medical team that arrived Nigeria on Wednesday and if they were on quarantine.

The Ambassador said the Chinese medical personnel were in full quarantine and ready to observe all protocols as stipulated by Nigeria.

“They are on 100 per cent quarantine. The NCDC has been there twice; they have to follow the protocol. They are here to deliver medical supplies and on advisory role only, that is a prevention working group on Covid-19. They will do nothing like practicing as doctors,” he said.