Nigeria is in discussion with other African countries on the steps to be taken in respect of the maltreatment of their citizens in China.
Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama made this known during the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 in Abuja on Thursday.
Onyeama, who was fielding questions from reporters at the event, added that Nigeria had “drawn a red line” for the Chinese authorities on the maltreatment of its citizens and entire black race.
Onyeama said government was ready to follow up the maltreatment of Nigerians in China to its logical conclusion since it had resolved not to compromise the dignity of its citizens and all people of black colour on the alter of economic cooperation with China.
His words: “We have been engaging with the Chinese government at various levels. At the level f our consulate in Guangzhou, which is where cases of discrimination and racism have been taking place and also the Central level in Beijing without our ambassador.
“We have made it clear to the Chinese government in no uncertain terms, unequivocally that under no circumstance will we accept a racial discrimination against Nigerians or indeed Africans or blacks in China. That is a red line for us.
“They have in turn told us that there is no case of that but clearly we have seen a video, I have received reports and we told them that it is unacceptable and we are also engaging with other African countries to decide and work together, definitive steps and measures that we will take because of this situation.
”In addition, I have directed our consulate in Guangzhou to systematically detail every single case of discrimination and every single case of loss or damage suffered by any Nigerian. We will pursue each and every single one very robustly with the Chinese government. If it requires compensation and damages, etc, we will demand for them.
“ So, for us, it is a red line and we are going to fight it to the very end. We are extremely disappointed because we have excellent relations with government and people of China. We are therefore surprised that such a thing can happen at this stage.
“When there were calls for travels to China to be banned when they had the outbreak in Wuhan, we went along with the World Health Organisation (WHO) advice not to place a ban on China.
“We showed real solidarity because we also had our own experience of epidemics with Ebola and so forth .” We are deeply wounded by what has happened to Nigerians and other Africans in China and of course the government has given us explanations.
”But it is something we never expected and we will pursue to its final conclusion and we would not make any compromises in doing so.”
”It behoves on us to be in the front line in defending the dignity of blacks and Africans everywhere in the world.”