The Federal Government is set to evacuate Nigerians from China following reports of the maltreatment meted on them in the province of Guangzhou.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the FG would ensure compensation for about 100 Nigerians who were evicted from their homes and hotels by Chinese officials in Guangzhou.
In a chat with journalists in Abuja on Friday, the minister said he had again summoned the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian for the second time in one week, since the reports surfaced in the media to register Nigeria’s displeasure over the incident.
Onyeama further said the Nigerian Ambassador to China, Ahmed Jidda, as well as other African ambassadors in China, had met with the Chinese Foreign Ministry and expressed their concern and made a number of demands on the Chinese Government, including insisting on respect for the rights and dignity of Africans and Nigerians in Guangdong
“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,” Onyeama said.
“And I must say that contrary to what we had believed that the situation was now fully under control and stabilized and there were no longer any issues, it became apparent that there were still, very distressing incidence 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 (Friday), 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 residence, 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.”
Speaking further, the minister said though, the narratives were conflicting, even sometimes amongst Africans in the area, there was a consistent reports of unacceptable treatment of Nigerians and other Africans in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province.
“I spoke to some of our people there in Guangzhou; and what do we do and where do we go from here? Quite a lot of them, of course, said that they just want to come home and we are putting in place as quickly as possible, the mechanisms to start bringing them home. That clearly is the immediate solution here,” Onyeama added.