Saturday, September 26, 2009
Nigerian MPs have asked the government to investigate the status of Chinese residents in the country, saying some may be staying there illegally
The demand follows allegations that Nigerians in China, especially those in jail, are being mistreated. The MPs asked the government to reject a request by the Chinese authorities to cremate the bodies of 30 Nigerians who have died in Chinese jails. There are an estimated 700 Nigerians currently in prison in China. Trade between Nigeria and China is booming and an estimated 20,000 Chinese people live in Nigeria. A similar number of people from across Africa are legally in China - and many more are thought to be there unofficially. In July 2009, a group of Africans staged a rare protest in the city of Guangzhou after a Nigerian man was reported to have died running away from police there. The Nigerian lawmakers want the government to conduct an audit to determine how many illegal Chinese immigrants there are in the country. The row comes after the Chinese government, through its embassy in Nigeria, sought permission to cremate the 30 corpses of Nigerian prisoners, saying their relatives cannot be traced.