Xenophobia: Reps want FG to evacuate Nigerians in China, investigate Chinese in Nigeria
By Yemi Itodo
The Nigerian House of Representatives, has urged the Federal Government to urgently evacuate all Nigerians who have tested negative to COVID-19 and are with valid passports and Visas in China, willing to return to Nigeria.
This was, even as, the Lawmakers unanimously resolved to investigate the validity of all immigration documents of every Chinese person and the expatriate quota of all their businesses in Nigeria, to ascertain the number of illegal and undocumented immigrants, with the view to repatriating them to China.
Spokesman of the Nigerian Parliament, Rep Benjamin Kalu and nine others successful moved this motion, at the resumed plenary of the Green Chamber on Tuesday, 28th April, 2020.
The resolution was said to be in line with the mandate of Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), to take actions to ensure the safety and welfare of Nigerians in China.
Recall that, as a result of the mutually beneficial diplomatic and economic relationship between Nigeria and China, about 10,000 Nigerians, including investors, traders, workers and students currently reside in and around Guangzhou in the Guangdong Province of the Peoples Republic of China and have generated massive trade volume between the two countries, such that for 2019 alone the Nigeria-China trade value was worth over $8.6 billion.
But sometimes in April 8, 2020, photos and videos emanated across various social media depicting the institutionalized racial discrimination, maltreatment, xenophobic assaults, embarrassments, illegal detention and forceful eviction of Nigerians and other Africans living in Guangzhou.
Rep Kalu, while leading the debate on the motion, lamented that, “under the pretext of curbing the spread of COVID-19, which ironically originated in Wuhan, China, several kinds of maltreatments of Nigerian citizens in Guangzhou have been perpetrated by Chinese people and authorities.
“These include, wrongful confiscation of Nigerian international passports, prolonged and illegal detaining of Nigerians in the name of mandatory quarantining despite holding a certificate of clean health and no recent travel history, outright refusal to test or release the test results, and the eviction of Nigerians from their homes, hotel accommodations, refusal of entry into shops, pharmacies, restaurants and hospitals, including beating of Nigerians on the streets with no police intervention among others”.
In the exercise of his function of protecting the interest of nationals of his sending State, as provided for under Article 5 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963, the Nigerian Consul General, according to Rep Kalu, “was treated in clear violation of Article 40 of the same treaty which requires the receiving State to treat consular officers with due respect and to take all appropriate steps to prevent attack on their persons, freedom or dignity; this dignity was abused by the Chinese government when they ignored the request of the Nigerian High Commissioner to allow Nigerians back to their accommodation, access to hospitals or restaurants which led to the High Commissioner himself buying and distributing food to Nigerians who where hopeless and lying in the streets under the rain”.
The Lawmaker also recalled the troubling case of Mr. Felix Awah Elijah, a Nigerian citizen and legal resident in China who mysteriously disappeared after his abduction and prolonged illegal detention by Chinese police authorities sometime around 6th February, 2019; and of which all letters and appeals from his Representative in the House, were ignored by Chinese Authorities.
The Spokesman contended that, the actions of the Chinese authorities do not reciprocate the favourable treatment enjoyed by their nationals in Nigeria who thrive and operate businesses, which in several cases, “completely disregard our extant laws on immigration and expatriate quota”, but have instead, put a strain on the diplomatic and economic relations between Nigeria and China thereby endangering Nigerian businesses in China valued at billions of dollars.
It was therefore, resolved that, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies should, “as a matter of urgency, ensure that all Nigerians who wish to return home, including Nigerians that only visited for business, Nigerians with any form of travel documents and identification, Nigerians with passports but expired visas, and Nigerians with passports and valid visas who have been ejected by house owners, Nigerians who have tested negative to Covid-19, are evacuated from China and quarantined upon arrival”.
The House also urged, “the Attorney General of the Federation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies to provide all necessary financial and other assistance to any affected Nigerian citizen in China who wish to seek redress in any local or international court for breach of fundamental rights, loss of property or any other actionable cause occasioned by their maltreatment or discrimination in China”.
It will be recalled that, the Honourable Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila; the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and the Nigerian Ambassador to China, Ahmed Jidda; undertook various independent and coordinated interventions, including meetings with the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian, to register Nigeria’s displeasure with the incidents.
But the Republic of China has not shown any commitment to ending the xenophobic discriminations, while Nigerians in China keep languishing on daily basis.
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Organ Trafficking: Ekweremadu, Wife, Doctor Sentenced To Various Prison Terms
The duo of Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, and Doctor Obinna Obeta has been senenced to various jail terms for bringing a 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney.
A judge at The Central Criminal Court, [ Old Bailey], announced the sentence friday.
At a sentencing hearing on Friday, Ekweremadu was jailed for nine years and eight months, his wife Beatrice was sentenced to four years and six months imprisonment while Obeta received a 10-year prison term.
The sentencing follows their conviction in March for organ trafficking, The Ekweremadus’sick daughter, Sonia was cleared of any wrongdoing.
The jury said Ekweremadu, his wife and their doctor criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney.
The conviction is the first under the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The sentencing comes after pleas from multiple prominent personalities and institutions, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Other petitioners included both chambers of the National Assembly, the Chairman/CEO, Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Erewa Dabiri, and the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC).
After months of a pre-trial, the trial commenced on January 31, 2023 and lasted about six weeks, culminating in a guilty verdict against Ekweremadu, Beatrice, and Obeta.
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Reps Seek UK Government Clemency for Ekweremadu
The House of Representatives has write to the government of the United Kingdom seeking mercy in sentencing the embattled Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice.
This is contained in a resolution reached following a motion moved by Toby Okechukwu, a lawmaker from Enugu State.
A UK court found the duo guilty of conspiracy of organ harvesting of another Nigerian. The Ekweremadu couple will be sentenced in the coming days.
Moving the motion, Okechukwu said diplomatic intervention in this kind of case is normal.
“It is a common practice in international relations for nations, including the UK, to seek relief for their citizens involved in situations such as that of the Ekweremadus,” he said.
Speaking on the motion, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House, said intervention by the House is not a justification for the charges against the Ekweremadus. He urged the UK government to consider Ekweremadu’s years of public service.
Consequently, the House resolved to urge the UK government and the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing Ekweremadu, his wife and the doctor.
Also, they urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to take all diplomatic steps and other necessary interventions regarding the travails of the Ekweremadu family.
- Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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HYPPDEC Donates Food Stuff, Clothing to Locals in Kogi to Tackle Cashless Policy Effect
By Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPDEC), on Tuesday, donated 400 bags of rice, 250 gallons of vegetable oil and some packaged women rappers to ten Local Government Areas in Kogi State under the agency to cushion the effect associated with the new cashless policy.
Making the presentation to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State at the Lugard House, Lokoja on Tuesday, a Board Member of HYPPDEC, Alhaji Isah Ozi Salami, said that the gesture is part of the agency’s intervention in times of natural disaster or any hardship situation on citizens.
Salami expressed the commitment of HYPPDEC in tackling the prevailing economic hardship on Nigerians as a result of the Cashless Policy.
“We owe it as a duty to take adquate care of the people in the 10 Local Government Areas belonging to HYPPDEC communities in Kogi
“Our concern under the present economic hardship is to alleviate the sufferings of the people within HYPPDEC communities in Kogi” Ozi Salami told Governor Bello.
He commended Governor Yahaya Bello for the provision of logistic supports that have facilitated smooth operation of the agency in Kogi.
He also told the Governor that HYPPDEC will soon begin the construction of 50 housing units in Kogi for resettlement of last year’s flood victims in riverine communities.
“I appreciate Governor Bello’s magnanimity in providing land for the housing project. The Governor is expected to perform the foundation laying ceremony of the project” Ozi Salami disclosed.
The Chief of Staff to Governor Bello, Jamiu Asuku who received the food stuff on behalf of his boss, hinted that Kogi will key into HYPPDEC’s intervention initiative in the areas of provision of food and security of lives and property for citizens.
Governor Yahaya Bello appealed to HYPPDEC to focus more on Ibaji Local Government Area in its intervention programme as a result of the bad terrain of the area.
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