By Chioma Obinna
Worried about the delay in processing travel documents, Nigerians in Guangdong province of China, have called on President Goodluck Jonathan to establish a consular office in the province to reduce their plights in the Asian country.
In a press statement signed by the President of Nigerian Community in China, Pastor Basil Ukaere, the group also urged President Jonathan not to ignore their plight like in the past when the issues were ignored by the Obasanjo administra-tion.
Ukaere said that Nigerian community in China had made a frantic effort to get Obasanjo establish a consular office in Guangzhou, but all to no avail.
The statement reads; “We want to draw the attention of the Federal Government to our plight in the Guangdong province in China where majority of Nigerians reside or come to do business but have to travel a long distance of 24hrs by speed train and 3hrs by air to Beijing to process documents because that is where Nigeria consular is.
“We appeal to President Jonathan to come to our aid by establishing a consular in Guangzhou to alleviate our sufferings.”
In his reaction, Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Mathew Nwagwu, said the matter has been debated by the senate, stating that the challenge of going far to process documents by Nigerians in the Diaspora is not peculiar to those in China but also to those in Texas, USA.
Nwagwu who is representing Imo North at the Senate, said his committee has sent a delegation to Guangzhou and Texas on oversight function to ascertain how the ministry of External Affairs could establish consular in those places.
He however blamed the delay experienced on its establishment on the cost implication.
On his part, one of Nigeria’s business icon in China and Chairman of Blue Diamond Logistics, Mr. Festus Mbisiogu, in a telephone chat with Vanguard, reiterated the importance of having Nigerian consular in Guangzhou, pointing out that a major commercial centre in China, over 30,000 Nigerians live In Guangzhou.
He recalled that for over 10years, Nigerians in Guangzhou has been appealing to previous administrations to establish consular office in the province but nothing has been done so far.
Mbisiogu, said the establishment of consular in Guangzhou will boost economic ties with Chinese investors because 80percent of Nigerians leaving in China are in Guangzhou.
He described Nigerians in Guangzhou as sheep without shepherd as many countries have their Embassies in Guangzhou while Nigeria, the giant of Africa with economic potentials have not considered important to establish a consular in Guangzhou. He said it is unfortunate that Nigerians travel the whole day to Beijing where the Nigeria Embassy office to process their documents and those who cannot afford the fare to either go by train or flights are stranded.
Mbisiogu, called on Nigerian government to as matter of urgency establish a consular in Guangdong province to reduce the stress of travlling such a long distance just to get assistance from the Nigerian Embassy in Beijin, stressing that the agitation for the establishment of Nigerian consult in Guangzhou by Nigerians resident in the province has been on for sometime now. I want to use this opportunity to appeal to President Jonathan to come our aid” he stated, Mbisiogu,commended Ambassador Aminu Bashir Wali in Beijin for his effort so far.