The House of Representatives has begun an investigation into the immigration documents of Chinese immigrants living in Nigeria.
The investigation which began on July 20 in Abuja, is being conducted by the joint house committees on Interior, Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring and Commerce.
The Speaker of the house, Rep. Femi Gbajabimila recalled that in April, photos and videos which went viral on the social media allegedly depicted institutionalised racial discrimination, maltreatment of Nigerians in China.
He said it also showed xenophobic assaults, embarrassments, illegal detentions and forceful evictions of Nigerians and other Africans living in Guangzhou, China.
Gbajabimila said that he summoned the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian precisely on April, 10 to register Nigeria’s displeasure with the incident.
“Subsequently, the House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 28, issued a strong-worded House Resolutions, condemned, in its entirety, the maltreatment, discrimination and xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in the Peoples Republic of China.
“Apart from urging the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to provide financial and other assistance to affected Nigerian citizens in China, the house took a two-pronged approach by constituting two joint committees to undertake two specific assignments towards remedying the ugly situation,” he said.
The speaker said that the house also mandated the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Inter-Parliamentary Relations, Human Rights, and Diaspora to ascertain the extent of violation of rights of Nigerians in China.
He said that the committees were also to determined as well as losses arising from such maltreatments and to further engage the Chinese Parliament appropriately to register Nigeria’s National Assembly condemnation of the maltreatment.
Gbajabimila said that the house also mandated committees to investigate the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, and any other relevant ministry, department or agency to check the validity of all immigration documents of every Chinese person in Nigeria.
According to him, the committee is to look into the expatriate quota of all the Chinese immigrants in Nigeria and to repatriate them to China to regularise.
“I, therefore, implore all the relevant stakeholders to assist the joint committee in discharging the mandate entrusted to it.
“The joint committee is imbued with legal and statutory powers to conduct this hearing as stipulated in the Standing Orders of the House, Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, 2017 and the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“The powers include right to order the attendance of witnesses, issuance and service of summons to attend and power to issue warrants to compel attendance.
“We are all partners in progress and I trust that the joint committee will be fair in the conduct of its assignment,” he said.