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Xenophobia: Reps want FG to evacuate Nigerians in China, investigate Chinese in Nigeria

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Rep Benjamin Kalu
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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.

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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”.

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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”.

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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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Presidency, National Assembly working In Tandem To Alleviate IDPs Plight – Hon. Jega

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Hon Muhammad Jega, member representing Aliero/Gwandu/Jega federal constituency
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The National Assembly is on the same page with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and the Refugee Commission to enhance the condition of Internally Displaced Persons IDPs and refugees in the country.

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This is disclosed by Chairman House committee on IDPs, Hon Muhammad Jega, member representing Aliero/Gwandu/Jega federal constituency during his interactive session with some journalists in Abuja.

Hon Jega said that the National Assembly and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs are working in a harmonious relationship that is why they have recorded successes in their respective operations.

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He further said that , if the ministry and the commission were not attending to the IDPs and refugees accordingly, through their oversight function they would have sanctioned them, but insisted that they will continue to work harmoniously so that it will benefit the targetted audiences. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

“We are actually working hand in hand with the ministry and the commission because we have to be sure that what they are doing is what is required of them and what will bring succour to those in that category,’ He said.

Jega thereby reiterates the need for everybody including the government, private individuals and donor agencies to always reach out to the IDPs and the refugees when he said the issues are a very serious one, adding that these categories of persons are affected by natural disasters without prior knowledge so they need everyone to survive.

He stated that the IDPs need protection and assistance from the government so that they can have a means of livelihood, saying that his committee has been working round the clock to make sure that the government through the ministry and the commissions are there for them.

When Informavores inquire about his Constituency projects, he said that the National Assembly has been misconstrued by a lot of people – stressing that they are the closest arm of government to the people at the grassroots. According to him, most of the development within the rural areas were brought by them because they know what their people need and that is why they have always made it available to them.

He also opined that it is only what they (Lawmakers) take to their people that they are seeing.

“We are mostly misunderstood by a lot of persons out there, but we are the closest arm of government to the people at the grassroots, it is only what we take to them that they are mostly seeing because the government doesn’t even bring development to them except through the constituency projects.

“For instance, in my constituency, we’ve been able to build Classrooms, we provided water pumps to our farmers, solar light and we empowered a lot of them with various skills acquisition.

“We established a standard computer laboratory to teach our students especially now that there are computer-based exams. The most important thing is that we are getting feedback on what we’ve done to our people and it will encourage me to do more,” he said.

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Civil Society Organizations Canvases Legislative Framework For Almajiri System 

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Senate, Executive face-off threat to democracy—APC Chieftain
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A Civil Society Organizations, and stakeholders in Bauchi state have advocated for a legislative framework of the Almajiri system to the state assembly.
 
Lovelyn Agbor, team lead from the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) made the call when paid advocacy visit to the Speaker Abubakar Suleiman in Bauchi. 
 
She said the call was part of a  recommendation from a recent multi-stakeholders meeting of relevant stakeholders, Ministries, Agencies ,CSO, Malams and Media in Bauchi. adsbygoogle || []).push({});
 
“The meeting was to identify the challenges facing the almajiri system with the aim of proffering solutions to address the negative impact of Almajiri system on the Economy.
 
“We are calling for the enactment of a legislative framework to standardise the operationalisation of the Almajiri system in the state,” she said.
 
Agbor also called for budgetary provision in the annual budget  for the welfare of the Almajiri system instead of ad-hoc intervention by the government in the state.
 
The team also emphasised that funds and resources set aside for almajiri intervention should be given directly to Almajiri gatekeepers to avoid diversion.
 
Agbor urged philanthropists to be  involved in providing support for catering for the needs of the almajiri in the state.
 
Responding, Speaker Sulaiman commended efforts of the CSOs and Stakeholders for their concern on the plight of the Almajiri system in the state.
 
He assured that the house would accord priority to the well-being and  welfare of the citizens in the state.
 
The speaker also assures to give preference to any relevant Ministries or agencies that includes Almajiri system in it’s annual budget.

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FG Set To Commission Situation Room For Orphans and Vulnerable Children

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President Muhammadu Buhari hand on chin
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In a bid to support the orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria, the Federal government has concluded plans to commission the National Orphans and Vulnerable Children(OVC) Management Information System (NOMIS) Situation Room.

The situation room will house the National OVC Management Information System in Nigeria to enable in-flow of real-time data from States on the situation of OVC in country. 

A press release signed by the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen to commemorate the World Orphans Day World marked every 8th November, revealed that the government is currently partnering with USAID to review the National Priority Action on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (2021-2030) as the current one 2013-2020 will expire this year.

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“We are also working assiduously with our partners to update the number of orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria through a National Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) survey,” she said.  

 The miniyer explained further; “World Orphans Day has always been observed annually on the second Monday of November. As the World marks today 8th November, 2021 as World Orphans Day, the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs also joins in this celebration in our bid to continue to support the wellbeing and protection of orphans in the country.  

“Orphans are an integral part of the Nigerian society and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that they are properly catered for and given a right to a family name. This is why under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, we are promoting legal fostering and adoption of these vulnerable children.

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I therefore call on all those interested to follow the proper channels through the States Ministries of Women Affairs as the first point to legalize the processes of the adoption.  

“No doubt the situation of our Orphans has been further worsened by the scourge of the COVID19 pandemic, but we will continue to work with well-meaning Nigerians, corporate organizations and development partners to improve their conditions.” 

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
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 news@informavores.com.ng.

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