The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, has clarified the controversy regarding the maltreatment of Nigerians living in China as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister, in a press briefing in Abuja, stated that further investigations have revealed that Nigerians were indeed being maltreated in China.
According to the Minister, “I must say that contrary to what we had believed that the situation was fully under control and that there were no longer issues, it became apparent that there were still very distressing incidences’.
The accusation of maltreatment initially broke on the social media with videos of Nigerians who were sent out of their lodgings and roaming the streets of Guangzhou going viral. Although both Chinese and Nigerian governments initially declared that the accusation of maltreatment was a case of poor communication between the Chinese authorities and the Nigerian consulate, however, more compelling evidence has brought out the clearer position of the maltreatment.
The Minister observed that the situation felt like an institutional attack on the rights and dignity of Nigerians and Africans in China. This is despite the promises and guarantees that he was given that Nigerians were not maltreated in China.
Following these findings, the minister announced that Nigerians resident in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province of China can soon return home to Nigeria if they so wish. The Minister further observed that evacuation was the immediate solution to their plight and that arrangements towards the evacuation will commence as soon as possible.
Onyeama pointed out that the Chinese Government is doing its best to ensure that no Nigerian or African is further abused, having held a couple of meetings with the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria to that effect. He condemned the maltreatment of Nigerian all in the name of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.