The Federal Government on Tuesday blamed poor communication between the Chinese authorities and African consulates in Guangzhou, China, for the maltreatment of Nigerians in China.
Speaking during a press briefing in Abuja in the company of the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said lack of communication made a lot of Nigerians and Africans misunderstand what was happening in China.
According to him, if there was effective communication, African consulates would have assisted the Chinese authorities in the action it was taking.
Onyeama said the viral video in circulation which showed the maltreatment of some Nigerians was not ‘entirely true.
He explained that the Chinese authorities were trying to contain some Africans including a Nigerian restaurant owner, who came into China and tested positive for the virus.
“And so, automatically demanded and insisted that they all be quarantined, with nobody allowed to come out in 14 days and if anybody came out from that quarantine, that they should not be allowed in if it was a hotel, back into that hotel or that residence.
“So, they put in very, very strict measures to try to contain this outbreak which to them at that time, clearly seemed to have been within that community. And so, they put in place these very strict measures.
“Now, it was misinterpreted, it appeared, by some of the Nigerians and Africans who could not understand why it seemed to be selective and targeting only themselves.
Onyeama further stated after seeing the new video which had a different narrative, he immediately alerted the Nigerian Embassy and officials in Guangzhou at the consulate, particularly the acting consul-general.
He added that the consulate confirmed that the narrative was true, that the Chinese authorities were trying to quarantine a set of Africans who came into China and tested positive.
“But what our officials in China made clear was that the communication could and should have been better.
”If the authorities in Guangzhou had informed the African Consulates in Guangzhou that this was the situation and this was the measures they were putting in place, it could have become a joint effort.
“That mutual suspicion would not be there. That was not done and it led to counter-narrative and it exacerbated the situation,”NAN quoted him as saying.
Onyeama reiterates that Nigeria and Chinese authorities were working closely to resolve the issue.
He stressed that the Nigerian Government took very seriously, the issue of the human rights and wellbeing of Nigerians anywhere and everywhere in the world adding that wherever there might be any issues in that regard, the Nigerian Government considered it an absolute obligation to intervene to ensure the rights and dignity of Nigerians are protected anywhere in the world.
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