The Speaker of the House of Representative, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila has expressed displeasure over the inhuman treatment of Nigerians by the Chinese government.
Gbajabiamila made this known in a meeting held on Friday in Abuja with the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Xingjian.
The Ambassador was confronted with the protest video of the incidence where a Nigerian was seen challenging Chinese officials over the maltreatment. He said that viral media reports and videos from Beijing showed Nigerians being forced out of their houses and hotels, rounded up and their passports seized by the Chinese police.
He said the videos also showed that some Nigerians were being forced into additional 14-day quarantine after the initial 14 days they spent for the same purpose over the COVID-19 pandemic in China. The Speaker said there should be an official explanation for treating Nigerians in such a manner.
Gbajabiamila asks Health Minister “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 is what happened in this case; you cannot use one brush to smear the whole wall. Whatever the reason, it cannot be used and taken out on the entire community in China,” he said.
The Speaker said the House will expect feedback from the Ambassador as soon as possible and before Tuesday next week. According to him, we should nip it in the bud so that it does not escalate to another level.
The speaker also sought to understand the specific mandate of the Chinese medical team that arrived in Nigeria on Wednesday and if they are on quarantine.
In his response, Ambassador Zhou said though he has not been officially informed about the details of the incident but that he would take it up with the home government. “We take our relationship with Nigeria very seriously, 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, ” he said. The Ambassador said the Chinese medical personnel is in full quarantine and ready to observe all protocols as stipulated by Nigeria. “They are at 100 percent quarantine. The NCDC has been there twice; they have to follow the protocol. “They are here to deliver medical supplies and on the advisory role only, that is a prevention working group on COVID-19. They will do nothing like practicing as doctors,” he said.
NTA2, Lagos Network Centre.