The federal government has accused China of racism and discriminatory practices against Nigerians and black people in the country following the outbreak of COVID- 19 in some parts of the country.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, at the media briefing of Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 Thursday in Abuja, likened the recent treatment meted out to Nigerians in Guangzhou as crossing the red line.
“We have been engaging with China at various levels; at the level of our consulate in Guangzhou where the cases of racism and discrimination have been ongoing and also at the federal level in Beijing, through our embassy. We have made it clear to the Chinese government in no uncertain terms that under no circumstance will we accept racial discrimination against Nigerians or Africans or Blacks in China. That is a red line for us,” Onyeama stated.
He said although the Chinese had denied the allegation, complaint by maltreated Nigerians and video proofs supported the claims of discrimination and racism.
He said the federal government had directed the Nigerian consulate in Guangzhou to detail all instances of discrimination, losses and damages suffered by any Nigerian.
He added that such violations will be pursued with the Chinese government if it requires compensation or damages.
He said: “We are extremely disappointed because we have excellent relations with the government and people of China that such a thing can happen at this stage. And you know when there were calls for travels to be banned to China, when they had the outbreak in Wuhan and so forth, we went along with the World Health Organisation (WHO) advice not to place a travel ban on China and showed rare solidarity because we also had our own experience of epidemic with Ebola etc, but really we are deeply, deeply wounded by what has happened to Nigerians and other Africans in China.
“Of course their government has given us explanations and so forth, but really it is something we never accepted and we will pursue to its final conclusion and we will not make any compromises in doing so.
“There have been some comments in public domain, as if our policy, that we are somehow held hostage by the fact that we have receive a lot of economic cooperation from China in the past. But I can assure you where this is concerned, we are going to pursue to the very end irrespective of whatever economic cooperation that we have with China because in the world of today, we absolutely can’t tolerate and accept any form of racism or discrimination against black Africans and as the largest Black country in the world, it behoves on us to be in the front line in defending the dignity of blacks and Africans everywhere in the world.”