ABOUT 60 Nigerians resident in China have been stranded in Nigeria for over a year now as a result of the suspension of issuing entry visas into China by the consulate-general and the local Chinese embassy.
In November last year, China announced the temporary suspension of visa for Nigerians entering into the country including those holding residence permits as a result of the continuing spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Affected people who had arrived in Nigeria prior to the lockdown, are now lamenting the fact that they have been denied entry into China more than one year afterwards.
Some of them had 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 arrived in the country in December 2019, before coronavirus became a global pandemic and have been stranded ever since.
They are now calling on Nigeria’s federal government to intervene to enable them reunite with their families who they left behind. One of the affected persons said their families were suffering as a result of their inability to return to China.
He said: “I have been here since December 2019 and 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 and 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 all, our families are suffering because of the absence of breadwinners and some of them have been ejected from their homes due to inability to pay their house rent.
We are appealing to Nigeria in Diaspora Commission (Nidcom) led by Abike Dabiri to assist us. Only recently, Nidcom facilitated the return of the corpse of a Nigerian murdered in Nigeria to the country, so we commend them for their help.”
Festus Mbisiogu, a member of the board of trustees of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (Nido) China, added: “I have been inundated with calls and complaints by these Nigerians as 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 the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have no problem with any measure taken to curb the spread of the virus but 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.”