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Speaker Gbajabiamila: We‘ll not tolerate maltreatment of Nigerians in China

Speaker of the House of Representatives has warned China authorities against any inhuman and unlawful treatment of Nigerian citizens resident in the country, saying it was unacceptable to the government.

Gbajabiamila handed down the warning at a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, on Friday in Abuja.

The meeting also had in attendance the Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu and Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Toby Okechukwu.

The Speaker who confronted the Ambassador with the protest video of an incidence where a Nigerian was seen challenging Chinese officials over the unhealthy treatment meted out to Nigerians in China, stated that the inhuman acts on Nigerians must be addressed forthwith.

Gbajabiamila said that media reports/videos from Beijing which had gone viral showed Nigerians being forced out of their houses and hotels, rounded up and their passports seized by the Chinese police.

The videos also showed that some Nigerians were being forced into another 14-day quarantine after the initial 14 days they spent for same purpose over the Covid-19 pandemic in China.

To this end, Gbajabiamila demanded an official explanation from the ambassador on whether he had reached his home country on the matter.

He said: “The diplomatic relationships between our two countries are for the mutual benefits of our citizens, then there must be respect for our citizens, and we should not compromise it.

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“As a government, we will not allow Chinese or other nationals to be maltreated just as we will not allow Nigerians to be maltreated in other countries.

“The way you treat your citizens, we expect that’s how you’ll treat others. We will not tolerate our citizens breaking your laws, but the crime of one citizen cannot be used to stigmatize the whole country.

“It appears that’s what happened in this case. You can’t use one brush to smear the whole wall. Whatever the reason, it cannot be used and taken out on the entire community in China”.

Gbajabiamila said the House will expect feedback from the Ambassador as soon as possible.

“We are glad you are looking into it but we are hoping to have it at least by Tuesday.

“It is better we nip it in the bud so that it doesn’t escalate to another level. So, by Tuesday, if you have the information to give us, if steps have been taken, let’s talk about it and let’s see the way forward”, he said.

The Speaker also sought to understand the specific mandate of the Chinese medical team that arrived Nigeria on Wednesday and their current state.

In his response, Ambassador Pingjian said though he has not been officially informed about the details of the incidence, he would take it up with the home government.

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“We take our relationship with Nigeria very seriously. Until we receive a full report from back home, I cannot act, but I can assure you it is not a policy issue.

“We treat everyone equally, but during the implementation of the COVID-19 measures in China, it is possible for some incidents; all I do is to take it back home, today I will, ” he said.

On the current state of the visiting medical personnel, the Ambassador also said they were in full quarantine and ready to observe all protocols as stipulated by Nigeria.

“They are on 100 percent quarantine. The NCDC has been there twice; they have to follow the protocol. They are here to deliver medical supplies and on advisory role only, that is a prevention working group on Covid-19. They will do nothing like practicing as doctors,” Pingjian said.

Today.ng

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