Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama met wth the Chinese Ambassador Zhou Pingjian and thereafter addressed the media on the alleged maltreatment of Nigerians in Guangzhou, China.

The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Geoffrey Onyeama on Tuesday 14th April 2020, met again with H.E. Mr Zhou Pingjian, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria and addressed the media on the alleged maltreatment of Nigerians in Guangzhou, China.

The Minister during a press briefing informed that there was a flight which conveyed a group of Nigerians to Guangzhou in which some Nigerians tested positive for #COVID19. Amongst the Nigerians, was a lady who owned a restaurant, a Nigerian restaurant frequented predominantly and almost exclusively by Africans, mainly Nigerians. The Chinese authorities obviously picked up on this, that there was this group of people who had tested positive 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 strict measures to try to contain this outbreak which to them at that time, clearly seemed to have been within that community. 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.

Our officials in China made it clear that the communication could and should have been better if the authorities in Guangzhou had informed the African consulates, that this was the situation and these were the measures that they were putting in place and it made it a joint effort, that mutual suspicion would not have been there. And, of course, that was not done and that led to counter-narratives and exacerbated the situation.

The Nigerian Government takes very seriously the issue of the human rights and well being of Nigerians everywhere in the world. Any issue in this regards, the Nigerian Government considers it absolute obligation to intervene to assure the rights and dignities of Nigerians are protected.