We want to return but embassy in China not helping, Nigerian in Wuhan replies Minister

A NIGERIAN Twitter user, who says he lives in Wuhan, China, has replied information minister Lai Mohammed, describing as false the claim that the Nigerian embassy in China is interacting with them.

Wuhan, a metropolis in China, is the location of the coronavirus outbreak in January, a disease that has since killed over 200 people and been declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation.

Mohammed on Friday said the federal government is in touch with the about 16 Nigerians residing in the Chinese city. He also said they have not indicated any interest in being evacuated to Nigeria.

“I know we have Nigerians in Wuhan; our Embassy in China has confirmed that we have about 16 Nigerians in Wuhan and they are in touch with them,” he had said.

But one Twitter user, who said he’s in Wuhan, described this as untrue, alleging that the embassy does not even have a directory of Nigerians in the Asian country.

He told The ICIR he has been in China since 2016 both for studies and business but did not disclose his identity. The use of Twitter is illegal in China and defaulters risk being detained.

“So far, the US government and a few other countries have made moves to move their citizens out from Wuhan. This is what makes a country great, not just by words or using media to lie about your citizens, Such things as lie and media deceit should not be accepted,” he wrote.

“Let me shock you; the Nigerian embassy in China doesn’t have the database of Nigerians in China. They only started to collect the data ‘improperly’ a few days ago because everyone is now getting pissed at them and they swung to cover their tracks.

“Amidst all this, from having no database, our government haven’t spoken to us and no one cares. We have remained strong, we have believed in Nigeria, we have hoped they’d act to our safety and at least reach out to us. But nothing happened except lying against us through media.”

He added that no help has got to Nigerians in Wuhan, who number over 50.

“No one has refused to return if the flights are provided. Please do not spread misinformation,” he said.

“I want to solicit to the Nigerian government; please Nigerians in Wuhan need your attention and provisions, they’ll come back if the means are provided.”

Another Twitter user, who says she lives in Nanjing also said on Friday that there are “at least 50 Nigerians in Wuhan” from what she can tell. She said there are a lot more in big cities such as Shanghai and Beijing.



    Last Thursday, The ICIR reported about the hardship faced by Nigerian students in China, who said getting access to money has been difficult as a result of the lockdown.

    “I will love to come back home but the Nigerian government should come to our aid by at least providing flight tickets so we can see our loved ones and feel safe,” one of them told The ICIR.

    The following day, a press statement from the embassy was shared with the students advising them to remain indoors and promising to “continue to closely monitor the situation and keep Nigerians updated as necessary”. The embassy also expressed “confidence in the extensive measures adopted by the Chinese authorities to curb the spread of the virus”.

    Reacting to the release, a student said: “This government has no sense at all. They are advising us to stay indoors with no food or support provided. This is why people search for citizenship in other countries.”

    'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

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