…gives details of alleged maltreatment of Nigerians in China
By Gift Chapi Odekina
The chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Tolu Sadipe has said that there are ongoing efforts to bring Nigerians who are stranded abroad back home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sadipe said that those affected had been asked to contact Nigerian missions and embassies in their various countries of residence.
The lawmaker made the disclosure in a statement issued by her Special Adviser, Media & Publicity, Olamilekan Olusada in Abuja on Monday.
Underscoring the seriousness of the coronavirus, Sadipe enjoined the people to take necessary precautionary measures to protect themselves.
The lawmaker said “It is important to also note that all our citizens currently stranded abroad have been asked to contact our Missions and Embassies as arrangements are being put in place to get them home safely.
“On the other hand, in the UK and the US, a disproportionate ethnic impact as been observed with regards to those infected by the virus and fatalities there off. It is of great concern that people of African, Asian and other minority ethnic groups are more vulnerable? Hence it is important that those of us abroad take extra precautions to avoid exposure to COVID 19.
“This pandemic is more than enough reason to panic but by Gods grace and necessary interventions such as social distancing, frequent hand washing, we shall overcome. It is advised that we all stay calm and comply with the laws wherever we have found ourselves at a time like this.”
On the alleged maltreatment of Nigerians, Shadipe said she had conducted an independent investigation on the matter and found that that the reports about the incidence were distorted.
“The Chairperson Diaspora Committee with a penchant for the welfare of Nigerians outside the shores of Nigeria, conducted a thorough independent investigation regarding the current situation of Nigerians in China necessitated by the videos and commentary on social media.
The results of the investigation revealed as follows:
“People are reacting to incomplete news, due to lack of awareness of the rules and regulations of China.
“On arrival in China, the first document that you are asked to sign and confirm is the landing card. This card clearly states that if you are not staying at a hotel, you are to go to the nearest police station and register your place of accommodation. Hotels are mandated to do this registration on behalf of guests.
“Also, aware that most visitors without a residence permit do not understand this instruction, and in addition, to save on the cost of hotel accommodation, they take up accommodation at apartments or hostels, many of which are unauthorized and unregistered businesses.
“Unfortunately, with the current situation of the Covid 19 pandemic, all those that never registered at the local police station are being evicted by the operators of these facilities for fear of sanctions from their government.
“If the government visits your apartment and finds out that you did not register your stay at the apartment, the owner of the apartment would be in great trouble with the government.
“Now that the news of door to door verification of foreigners and travel records is ongoing, those in the country in violation of registration compliance are being asked to move out.
“Note that the hotel evictions being claimed are not evictions but closing down of illegal, unregistered and dingy overcrowded hostels.
“Aware that those that are legal are going about their daily activities but are sometimes stopped or visited in their homes to verify locations visited in the last 20-24 days.
“Scientific means are being used to verify locations, by sending a QR code from an individual’s phone, which immediately sends messages to and receives from all cell towers close to areas visited.
“If the person’s movement has been within certain areas that are now marked as hot zones, he/she would be asked to go for mandatory self-isolation, testing and in some cases, Government funded Isolation.
“People found to have spent time within the hot zones (areas of contamination) are kept in quarantine in government hotels of high standard.
“It is good to note that the Chinese Visas issued before the 28th were to be cancelled if not used by the 28th and there was an influx into China.
“Some Nigerians who came into China with this influx on Ethiopian airlines (not necessarily flying from Nigeria) visited a Nigerian restaurant owned by a Nigerian married to a Chinese national, whose whole family have tested positive”, the statement said.
The chairperson added that ” four of these Nigerians who visited this restaurant have also tested positive to the virus.”
She hoped that “with this information, we are better informed and have a clearer understanding of the current situation in China created by the COVID 19 verification of compliance with Chinese residency and immigration policy.”