Friday, November 25, 2005

Disturbing News for Nigerians

Disclaimer: The following statements may be construed as nothing more than hearsay. All information has been provided via second- and third-hand accounts, and all involved parties' views are not represented. The following information is provided solely for interest purposes.

A few days ago, I found out that a friend of an acquaintance was being detained in Chinese prison. My acquaintance's friend, who I will call Person X for reasons of anonymity, was arrested last weekend by the Chinese authorities.

I've just recently in light of this event become somewhat familiar with the tensions between China and Nigeria. From what I've gathered so far, China is having a difficult time entering the Nigerian market, and Nigerians are having trouble getting their visas renewed while in China. There is no official prohibition of the renewal of visas for Nigerian passports on record in China. However, those Nigerians detained and those speaking on their behalf suggest that the practice of denying visa renewal is in place, and is linked to the market struggles China is having with Nigeria.

According to my acquaintance, who talked to Person X after his arrest, Person X recently attempted to renew his visa, and was denied the renewal. Last weekend, Person X was in the home of his host family when Chinese authorities arrived. Person X's host family allegedly locked Person X into the house while awaiting the arrival of the authorities. According to my acquaintance, Person X alleges that he was beaten, strip searched, and arrested.

Person X was given one phone call, and he used it to call my acquantance. He explained the situation to my acquaintance, and told her to call a man named Mr. Wu for information on his release. My acquaintance called Mr. Wu, and he explained that if he was given 2000 USD, Person X could be released.

Calls have been made to the Nigerian embassy, to Person X's family, and again to Mr. Wu. So far, nothing has been done to expedite his release. My acquaintance explained that there is a good chance that Person X will have to spend up to 3 months in prison if the money is not raised.

The arrest was allegedly for the violation of visa laws. As far as my sources know, Person X has committed no other crimes. Nigerian friends of Person X are outraged, and according to my acquaintance, also fearing the same fate as Person X. To view a discussion forum of similar incidents, click here.


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