The House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to declare the alleged maltreatment of Nigerians in China as Xenophobic attack with racial undertone.
The green chamber also resolved to ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies to, 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 document 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 resolutions followed a motion moved by Benjamin Kalu from Abia State and 9 others.
Leading the debate on the motion, Kalu said that the Chinese under the pretence of quarantine policies are maltreating Nigerians in violation of their rights.
“Under the pretext of curbing the spread of COVID-19, which ironically originated in Wuhan, China, several kinds of maltreatment of Nigerian citizens in Guangzhou have been perpetrated by Chinese people and authorities including wrongful confiscation of Nigerian International Passports, prolonged and illegal detention of Nigerians in the name of mandatory quarantine despite having certificates 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 and hotel accommodations,” he said.
He also accused the Chinese authority of not reciprocating the hospitality extended to the Chinese Nationals in Nigeria.
“Actions of the Chinese authorities do not reciprocate the favourable treatment their nationals enjoy in Nigeria, 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.”
The House, therefore, also resolved as follows:
“Urge the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies to provide all necessary financial and other assistance to 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;
“Mandate the Committees on Interior, Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring, and Commerce to investigate the Nigerian Immigration, Corporate Affairs Commission, Nigerian Content and Development Monitoring Board, and any other relevant Ministry, Department or Agency to check the validity of all immigration documents of every Chinese person in Nigeria and the expatriate quota of all the Chinese businesses in Nigeria to ascertain the number of illegal and undocumented Chinese immigrants in Nigeria and to repatriate them to China to regularize;
“Mandate the Committees on Inter-Parliamentary Relations, Foreign Affairs, Human Rights and Diaspora to ascertain the extent of violation of rights of Nigerians in China as well as losses arising from such maltreatment and to further engage the Chinese Parliament appropriately to register Nigeria’s National Assembly condemnation of the maltreatment, discrimination and xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in China and to ensure the cessation of such actions by its people and government and that treatments meted to Nigerians are compatible with China’s human rights obligations, and to report back within two (2) weeks for further legislative action.”
It would be recalled that the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, in his welcome address also condemned the action of the Chinese government in the recent attacks against Nigerians in China.
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency, Geoffrey Onyeama has been consistent in his defence of the rights of Nigerians abroad, and the House commends his efforts. Yet, despite his efforts and the assurances given to the House by the Chinese Ambassador in Nigeria, there are still reports of ongoing mistreatment of Nigerians in China,” he stated.