By Dickson Okafor
Nigerians living in Guangzhou, China have lamented discrimination meted to them over activities of some of their compatriots involved in illegal drug business.
Speaking at the launch of “Say no to Drugs” campaign, organized by the Association of Nigeria Community in China, Mr. Festus Mbisiogu, Chief Executive officer, Blue Diamond Logistics, said negative tendencies of some Nigerians have created suspicion, which has adversely affected other Nigerians doing genuine business in the Asian country.
He lamented that many Nigerian youths are in jail in China over drug offenses and other related crimes. Mbisiogu noted that Guangzhou records daily cash return of over $5 million on business transactions, with Nigerians contributing 80 per cent of its Small Medium Enterprise (SME).
He cited a poll conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which showed that China exerts positive influence on the social and economic development in Nigeria, thereby making Nigerians pro-Chinese.
“We cannot truly say that the consummate benefits of this relationship are rubbing off on all of us. Rather, we are denied some privileges, which ordinarily should come with our residing in this country,” he said.
On the privileges Nigerians have lost because of lawlessness, Mbisiogu said: “Nigerians are no longer given resident permit as well as visa extension.
Even Nigerian citizens studying in China cannot secure resident permit and are not allowed to work, unlike citizens of other countries.”
According to him, married Nigerians are worse hit because they are not given permit to live with their families. He called for attitudinal change on the part of Nigerians.
The businessman said drug trafficking and other vices undermine state authority and rule of law, insisting that the act fuels corruption with its negative effects on the economy, which, in turn, have ruined a lot of Chinese citizens.
He urged Nigerians and Africans to rise against drug trafficking as it undermines development as well as erodes social and human capital. He said: “This is time to say no to drug because of its ugly impact, which include, victimisation, discrimination, image problem as well as crime.”
He, also, recalled Nigerians were favoured above other Africans, as partners, by the Chinese in business and mutual relationship, lamenting that these privileges have been lost due to unlawful behaviors.
According to him, proceeds from drugs have ruined many homes.
“What does it profit you to continue to plot your own ruin, all in the name of drug trafficking?’ he queried.
He called on the Nigerian Consulate and Nigerian Union to close ranks and ensure they check the excesses of a few unscrupulous elements whose activities are preventing honest citizens from reaping the benefit of Nigeria-China corporation.
Also speaking at the event, the leader of Nigeria Community in Guangzhou, Mr. Emmanuel Ojukwu, said they cannot fold their hands and watch a good number of Nigerians in Asia go to their early graves for violating the laws of their host nations.
He enlightened the audience on the need to be good ambassadors, insisting that it was time Nigerians understood the negative effects of crime and drug peddling.
Ojukwu advised intending immigrants to shun criminality, as the Nigerian Union has programmes that would help integrate Nigerian youths into the Chinese labour force through skill acquisition and career training.
He said: “The reason for this “Say no to drugs” campaign is to curb youth aggression and restiveness in the African community in Guangzhou as well as strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.”