By Chinyere Amalu

ABUJA- Not less than 732 Nigerians are in various Chinese prisons for various offences; 322 out of the number are in detention and another 304 are awaiting deportation, while the remaining 106 are in prison for trafficking, robbery and fraud.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign affairs, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Ambassador Joe Keshi made this revelation during the on-going discussion between Nigeria and China aimed at upgrading, improving and consolidating the relationship between the two countries.

Ambassador Keshi also revealed that the Strategic Dialogue was establish in 2008, which provides both countries the opportunity to assess and review the state of relationships between the two countries as well as to reach agreements or harmonize their positions on a number of global issues.

“In particular on some of the issues before the current United Nations General Assembly and the forthcoming Conference on Climate Change”, he added.

He further explained that, apart from discussions on political and economic issues, the two countries would also seek to address the growing consular issues, which have emerged recently and constituted an increasing irritant between the two countries.

“ Nigerian side is expected to raise and collaborate with the Chinese, to find lasting solutions to the increasing arbitrary arrest and detention of Nigerians who have over stayed their visas in China.

“Discussion on the consular problems has become inevitable in view of increasing number of Nigerian being arrested for violating Chinese immigration laws, with available statistics that about 732 Nigerians are in various Chinese prison for various offences; 322 out of the number are in detention and another 304 are awaiting deportation, while the remaining 106 are in prison for trafficking, robbery and fraud”, he said.

The Permanent Secretary also observed that over the years, there is increasing number of Nigerians who arrived in China mostly as traders, and later find it difficult to leave the country.

“ By Chinese penal code, foreigners who overstay their visas’ period, face severe penalties including arrest, detention and payment of fines before they could leave the country.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.