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Claims of alleged maltreatment of Nigerians over COVID-19 in China ‘half-truths’ –Nigerian govt

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Geoffrey Onyeama

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Tuesday described claims of maltreatment of Nigerians in China as half-truths.

Several video clips showing some Chinese citizens kicking Nigerians out of their hotels and forced into isolation for fear of being infected with coronavirus went viral on social media last week.

The Consul-General of Nigeria in Guangzhou, China, Mr. Anozie Madaubuchi Cyril, was seen in one of the videos confronting Chinese officers and accused them of victimising Nigerians and other Africans living in the southeast Asian nation.

However, at a press briefing in Abuja, the minister said investigations carried out by the Federal Government had revealed that reports of alleged maltreatment of Africans in the Chinese city were half-truths.

He said the videos did not reflect the true situation of things in China.

The briefing was attended by the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian.

Onyeama said information at his disposal revealed that some Africans had travelled to Guangzhou a few weeks ago and when they were screened, they tested positive for COVID-19.

He said: “There is an African restaurant, a Nigerian restaurant used exclusively by Africans and Nigerians. The Chinese authorities obviously picked up on this that there was this group of people who had tested positive for coronavirus.

“And so, they 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, they should not be allowed in if it was a hotel, back into that hotel or that residence.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Britain to begin evacuation of nationals in Nigeria

“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. And so, they put in place, these very, very strict measures. Now, it was misinterpreted by some of the Nigerians and Africans who could not understand why it seemed to be selective and targeting only themselves.”

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