A Nigerian, Mr Chibuike Emmanuel Chukwuneke, was recently killed in The Philippines in very troubling circumstances. According to the friends of the slain Nigerian medical student, he was murdered by Chinese thugs who were hired by his employer. They reportedly tied his hands, covered his mouth and beat him to death.
Already, the Philippines National Police have filed murder cases against the six Chinese suspects. Police Lieutenant Colonel Franco Oriol, a deputy city director for administration and spokesperson, said they were able to identify four of the six Chinese allegedly involved and that murder cases had been filed against them.
The story was first reported by one Michael Ojuola, through his X (formerly Twitter) handle: @michaelojuola. Chukwuneke’s Chinese employer, who unleashed the thugs on him, had earlier demanded that the Nigerian student’s salary be paid on pro rata basis as a breach of contract by lodging his grlfriend in his official accommodation. Ojuola urged the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), the Nigerian Senate and other relevant stakeholders to intervene in the matter with a view to getting justice for the deceased.
It is truly heartwarming that NIDCOM quickly responded to the incident by asking for further information. It is no doubt a commendable act even if, at that time, the issue had not been officially communicated to the Nigerian embassy in The Philippines.
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The federal government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also followed up by issuing a statement signed by its spokesperson, Mrs Francisca K. Omayuli, condemning the incident.
The statement reads in part: “The Federal Government of Nigeria has received with sadness and grave concern reports of the tragic death of a Nigerian national in the Philippines on 21st October, 2023. While there is no justification for the deadly attack on the deceased, the federal government calls on Nigerians living in the country to remain calm and law-abiding, while The Philippines authorities continue with investigation.
“In line with the diaspora component of the 4-D Foreign Policy strategy, the federal government is committed to ensuring the protection of the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians wherever they live. To this end, the Nigerian embassy will continue to follow up on the matter with relevant authorities, including The Philippines National Police (PNP) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, until the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
The federal government also used the opportunity to condole with the family and friends of the late Mr Chibuike Emmanuel Chukwuneke, praying for the peaceful repose of his soul.
We also join the government in mourning the death of the student and pray that God gives the family the fortitude to bear the loss. We urge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the leadership of Amb Yusuf Tuggar, to use this unfortunate incident as a springboard to end the maltreatment of Nigerians abroad. This is necessary because the killing of Nigerians abroad has been going on long before this latest incident.
For example, 16 Nigerians, who were members of the Tijjaniya sect, were killed on their way to Kaolack, Senegal, by the Burkinabe army in February this year. Chizoba Favour Eze died in the Kaliti Maximum Security Prison in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 12, 2023. Indeed, many Nigerians have been killed or in some instances imprisoned in countries outside the shores of Nigeria in questionable circumstances.
A Non-Novernmental Organisation (NGO), Patriotic Initiatives, in 2021, published a data which indicated that there were 170,000 Nigerians serving various jail terms bordering on drugs, human trafficking and other immigration offences across the globe. According to the data, 8,000 Nigerians were being incarcerated in Chinese prisons, 750 in Britain, 3,719 in Canada and 1,000 in India, while 200 were on the death row in Indonesia.
Earlier this month, the Senate moved to investigate the alleged killing and imprisonment of over 250 Nigerians in Ethiopia. This followed a motion which stated thus: “The video clip being circulated in the social media indicates that Nigerians are held captive in the maximum prison of Ethiopia and are in serious peril, which calls for urgent intervention and thorough probe into the heinous activities.” The motion was jointly moved by the Minority Leader, Senator Simon Mwadkwon, and Senator Victor Umeh.
With new 4-D policy of “Development, Democracy, Demography and Diaspora being pursued by the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has the welfare of diaspora Nigerians as one of its cardinal principles, we are urging them to pursue this case, and others before it, of course, to a logical conclusion.
Nigerians studying, working or simply living abroad must be treated as the Nigerian citizens that they are alone and to deter anyone who may want to harm them unduly.