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Reps protest plight of Nigerians in Chinese prisons

…blames Nigerian government

By Tordue Salem

ABUJA—The House of Representatives protested yesterday the ill-treatment of  Nigerian citizens held in Chinese prisons. The Green Chamber also wants a meticulous statistics of Chinese Nationals resident in Nigeria with a view to weeding out some of them with invalid papers.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Mrs. Abike Dabiri who spoke for the House on Tuesday, charged the Immigration Service in the Country to publicise the number of Chinese legitimately living or doing business in  Nigeria.

She urged the immigration authorities  “to act rather than make veiled statements,” adding that there are many Chinese living as illegal immigrants in Nigerians.

The permanent secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Joe Keshi, said Monday that 732 Nigerians were currently in detention in Chinese prisons for various offences.

Rep. Dabiri blamed the alleged involvement of Nigerians living there in crime on the negligence of the Nigerian Government. She also blamed the ministry of Foreign Affairs for failing to take quick steps to address predicament the Nigerian detainees in China, arguing that even the alleged criminals deserved good treatment and fair trial.

“It is unfortunate that such a large number of our citizens are wallowing in detention in a foreign land whereas our government is playing lip service. Whereas this is as a result of the failure of government to the needs of its citizens and we want this to change.

“Nigerians cannot continue to be treated as animals; we are human beings and must be accorded that respect. The question is, are their no Chinese in Nigeria without valid papers? We have more Chinese illegal immigrants in Nigeria than Nigerians in China but no one clamps them in detention. What has the government done about them?’ she queried.

Dabiri-Erewa lamented that the Nigerian embassy in China has failed the nation by not taking proper care of its citizens in that country. According to her, Chinese nationals without valid papers living in Nigeria are adequately covered by their embassy


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