Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has decried the maltreatment Nigerians living in China are subjected to. Gbajabiamila who had a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria Zhou Pingjian confronted him with a protest video in which a Nigerian was seen challenging Chinese officials over the maltreatment.
He also demanded that Chinese authorities address the issues. In some of the videos which has gone viral, some Nigerian citizens were protesting against being forced into another 14-day quarantine after the initial 14- day they spent for same purpose over the COVID-19 pandemic in China.
The speaker who commented on the incident said; “If the diplomatic relationships between our two countries are for the mutual benefits of our citizens, then there must be respect for our citizens, and we should not compromise it.
“As a government, we will not allow Chinese or other nationals to be maltreated just as we will not allow Nigerians to be maltreated in other countries.
“The way you treat your citizens, we expect that’s how you’ll treat others. We will not tolerate our citizens breaking your laws but the crime of one citizen cannot be used to stigmatize the whole country.
“It appears that’s what happened in this case. You can’t use one brush to smear the whole wall. Whatever the reason, it cannot be used and taken out on the entire community in China”.
On his own part, Pingjian promised to take it up with the home government even though he has not been officially informed.
He said; “We take our relationship with Nigeria very seriously. Until we receive a full report from back home, I cannot act but I can assure you it is not a policy issue. “We treat everyone equally but during the implementation of the COVID-19 measures in China, it is possible for some incidents; all I do is to take it back home, today I will.” Gbajabiamila further stated that he will be expecting a feedback from Chinese authorities.
He added; “It is better we nip it in the bud so that it doesn’t escalate to another level. So, by Tuesday, if you have the information to give us, if steps have been taken, let’s talk about it and let’s see the way forward.”