The Nigerian Ambassador to China, Aminu Wali, on Monday said Nigerians were responsible for about 80 per cent of the offences committed by Africans in China.
Speaking in Beijing ahead of President Goodluck Jonathan’s state visit to China, Wali said over 400 Nigerians were serving various jail terms in China for drug-related offences.
“We certainly have big issue with drug-related crimes committed by Nigerians in China and when you look at the whole of Africa, you find out that about 80 per cent of all the offences and crimes committed by Africans in China is committed by Nigerians.
“That is why I think we are having a running battle to try and control the situation. However, we need assistance from back home; from the security agencies manning our exits and entry points in Nigeria to be more alert and vigilant to make sure these individuals do not escape through our routes to come into, not only to China but also any other country.
“This measure has to be taken because drug trafficking, as it were, is the biggest problem that we have as far as Nigerians are concerned.
“Right now, we have over 400 Nigerians in various jails in China and 80 per cent of them are drug-related offences,” he said.
According to Wali, he had organised quarterly consular visits to Nigerians in prisons. He noted that many of them did not enter China with their real names and genuine Nigerian passports.
He said the embassy only knew their identities and presence in China on imprisonment because they were in dire need of consular visits.
“The government at home and the National Assembly would have to come together and see what they can do to assist in our efforts to stamp out this problem. At the same time, they need to support the embassies outside to give more consular assistance to Nigerians, who find themselves not only in prisons but also in difficulties in the host countries.
“For example, because we do not have any provisions, we in the embassies cannot assist the prisoners, and other Nigerians. At times, we have been good Samaritans collecting money from among ourselves and helping Nigerians who are in distress,” said Wali.
He however expressed optimism that Jonathan’s visits would strengthen the relationship between Nigeria and China.
“The coming of the President will open the door for lot of Chinese investors to see what opportunities there are in Nigeria, and the receptiveness of our government towards direct investments in the country.
“So once that is done in the next year or two, we would see the result of the visit of Mr. President to China”.