No fewer than 60 Nigerians resident in China are stranded in Nigeria given the suspension of entry visa into China by the Consulate-General of China in Nigeria and the Chinese Embassy.
The affected people who had arrived in Nigeria prior to the lockdown imposed last year, lamented that they have been denied entry into the country more than one year after.
We exclusively gathered that citizens had variously gone to the Chinese Consulate in Lagos to renew their documents only to be told they could not return to China until further notice.
Some of the affected persons were said to have arrived in the country in December 2019, before Coronavirus became a global pandemic.
Consequently, they called on the Federal Government to intervene to enable them reunite with their families who they left behind.
One of the affected persons, who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised, said their families were suffering as a result of their inability to return.
He said:” I have been here since December 2019. If not for my inability to get visa, I would have returned to join my family and resume my business. I have spent a year and three months in Nigeria. Some of us came back in January 2020.
Before coming to Nigeria, my wife had a two-month old baby, who is now more than a year-old but I haven’t set my eyes on her since then. Worse of it, our families are suffering because of the absence of breadwinners. Some of them have been ejected from their homes due to inability to pay their house rent.
They have now gone to live at local places where they could afford the rent. We are appealing to Nigeria in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, led by Abike Dabiri to assist us. We are commending the NIDCOM leadership for always coming to our aid. Only recently, it facilitated the return of the corpse of a Nigerian murdered in Nigeria to the country. The family of the deceased also returned courtesy of NIDCO’s efforts. We are appealing to them also to assist in ensuring that we reunite with our families.”
Also speaking, a Board-of-Trustees, BoT, member of Nigeria in Diaspora Organisation, NIDO, in China, Mr. Festus Mbisiogu, appealed to the federal government and Chinese authority to see how the plight of affected Nigerians could be addressed.
According to him, “I have been inundated with calls and complaints by these Nigerians. They have not been able to get visa needed for their return journey. From my findings, the Chinese Consulate placed a temporary ban on visa issuance due to COVID-19 pandemic. We have no problem with any measure taken to curb the spread of the virus. However, we are appealing that the plight of these people who have been separated from their families be considered. I want to also appreciate the Abike Dabiri-led NIDCOM for always assisting diasporans in distress. The agency has been helpful. That is the reason the affected persons are looking forward to its help this time.”
Meanwhile, a message on the website of Consulate -General of China, Lagos, said the country had suspended issuance of entry visa to non-Chinese nationals holding valid visas or resident permit.
The statement dated November 6,2020, read:”Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China has decided to temporarily suspend entry into China by non Chinese nationals in Nigeria holding visas or residence permits still valid at the time of this announcement. The Chinese Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria will no longer issue Certified Health Declaration Form for the above mentioned personnel.
“Entry by holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas will not be affected. Foreign nationals visiting China for emergency needs may apply for visas at Chinese Embassy or Consulate. Entry by non Chinese nationals in Nigeria with visas issued after 3 November 2020 will not be affected. The suspension is a temporary response necessitated by current situation of COVID 19.”