The leadership of the House of Representatives has expressed displeasure over the inhuman treatment meted out on some Nigerians by the Chinese authorities in Beijing.
The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila expressed the displeasure at a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian on Friday in Abuja.
Gbajabiamila said that the inhuman treatment on Nigerians in China must be addressed forthwith.
The speaker confronted the Ambassador with the protest video of the incidence where a Nigerian was seen challenging Chinese officials over the maltreatment.
He said that viral media reports and videos from Beijing showed Nigerians being forced out of their houses and hotels, rounded up and their passports seized by the Chinese police.
Scores of Nigerian students and businessmen in Guangzhou were evicted from their apartments and hotel rooms by Chinese authorities.
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 treatments by the authorities who they say have not provided them with alternative of food or shelter since their eviction.
China: denying people access to houses on which they’ve paid rent and forcing them to sleep in the cold, simply because they’re Nigerians or blacks is racism – nothing more, nothing less. pic.twitter.com/iUtDInxy3I
— Demola Olarewaju (@DemolaRewaju) April 8, 2020
Rumours online that the coronavirus was spreading among the thousands of Africans in the city which 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.”
In a written statement, the Nigerian embassy in Beijing said the federal government was now prepared to evacuate its citizens from China.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama on Thursday tweeted that he invited the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria Mr Zhou Pingjian to communicate FG’s concern at allegations of maltreatment of Nigerians in Guangzhou.
The minister’s spokesperson, Ferdinand Nwonye said the Minister “drew the attention of the Ambassador to the videos going viral online 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”.