By Vera Samuel Anyagafu, (Reporting from Guangzhou)
It is sad to know that over 500 Nigerians are serving jail terms in Chinese prisons. According to sources, an estimate of 535 Nigerians are presently rotting in Chinese prisons for various offenses which also includes drug related offenses.
Speaking to Vanguard, sources disclosed that two out of about 200 Nigerians who come to China on a daily basis are arrested for drug trafficking.
However, Deputy Director General, Foreign Affairs Office of People”s Government of Guangdong Province, China, Mr. Luo Jun, noted that although, Nigerians are good friends of the Chinese, it is imperative to abide by the law of the country which states that drug trafficking is a serious offense and when caught, depending on the size and or grams of the drugs, the culprits are either given a death sentence or made to serve long-term imprisonment.
The office also urges Nigerians to be mindful of packages received from friends and or family members, saying by being oblivious of the content, they could be walking into the hands of the law in the country.
“Depending on the grams of drug found on the culprit, the Chinese law will either pronounce a death sentence or long term imprisonment and without pardon. In some cases the Nigerian consulate maybe informed. But my take is that you should come to China for good related businesses. We are not going to welcome any form of intrusion capable of ruining the future of our youth, who are leaders of tomorrow. We humbly grant various category of visas to Nigerians and believe in the win-win collaboration for better bilateral relationship and this visit indicates our interest to grow with Nigeria and Africa as a whole “, Juo added.
He also pointed out the difficulty Chinese citizens face in securing visa to enter Nigeria, saying that the Nigerian consulate in Guangzhou deny Chinese entry permit.
Similarly, Nigerian consulate team is of the view that relationship between Nigeria and China may not be described as balanced . The team, while lamenting that the relationship between Nigeria and China is imbalanced, said that about 90 per cent of contracts awarded in the previous administration were to Chinese companies, who take the big contracts such as roads, rails and airports , whereas, there are a number of reputable Nigerian organizations well equipped to partner in such projects.
“For fact, there is trade imbalance between Nigeria and China. The Chinese have no industries in Nigeria. Instead of target on green investment, all big contracts are awarded them and they come with their workers, engaging Nigerians only in demeaning jobs. There’s no techniques transfer and so on for Nigerians to improve on. So where is the Win-Win here,” the group stated.
Continuing, “Chinese have a lot of private investments in Ogun State with lands everywhere and are still going to hinterlands. Recently, a Chinese business lady bought 700,000 hectares of land in Nigeria, others, to mention but a few.
“China is moving from manual to robotics and smart services. They want to have manufacturing facilities all over the world. So, Nigerians, Africans, are the starting point and this is so, because they can hardly meet the conditionality of the western worlds.”
However, They urged Nigerians in China, who are more into logistics and investment to move their partnership to those in Nigeria, disagreeing with the notion that the Nigerian consulate in Guangzhou deny Chinese who wish to do business in Nigeria entry, adding that 1,500 visas are granted Chinese nationals on a monthly basis.
And out of the stated number, 700 go to invest, and the rest go as workers. The consulate team advice that South East zone of the country should be sensitised. They charge their governors and traditional rulers to lecture them and make them understand there are no job for Nigerians in China. There are no greener pastures in China and will only get stuck once they get here, because it is even difficult to open a shop in China.
The process is tedious and a futile mission. Seeking hands of journalists to play a crucial role in the development of the country, through constructive criticism, while giving the example of Chinese journalists who helped in their country’s 25 years old development story.
“Negative reporting in the paper has added to our disintegration. “It is common know. We are not saying there’s no corruption anywhere in the world, or countries with their own issues, but that should be tackled through constructive criticism, ” the team echoed.
Also, lending a voice, President Good Governance Initiative (GGI), Mr. Fetus Mbisiogu urged Nigerians in the diaspora to build industries in their home states through their experiences gathered in China and from various countries of abode abroad. He admonished Nigerians not to seek any greener pastures or think there is a better life if they move to China, especially with the mindset that all is rosy here.