…Corruption, criminal activities all over the country. They are mostly illegal immigrants, engages in slave labour, workers groan under their dark practices, sexually harassing workers,
Both China nationals and made in China products are fully grounded and well received in Nigeria. Probably, some seven odd, out of ten GSM handsets you see are made in China. Fabrics, electronic gadgets, computer devices and household tools follow this pattern. This statistics, however, apply to virtually all the imported goods in the Country. Also, a huge China market is fully operational in Lagos, first built off Awolowo Road, IKoyi, but due to space constraints and other logistics reasons, moved to the outskirts of the metropolis in Ojota area of Ikeja metropolis.
Also international trade between Nigeria and China is healthy. China imports huge volume of food items, cassava, grains, animals and poultry products from Nigeria. This is aside the fact that the country is the largest consumer of Nigeria’s Bonny Light Crude Oil. But in returns, both the Federal Government and various State Governments, most conspicuously in the South West, have handed juicy construction contracts to companies with direct links to China. At international level, all seem well between both countries. But not so among the nationals of the two friendly countries.
From the arid zone of Zamfara, Katsina, and Sokoto States, in the far Northern hemisphere of the Country, down to rain forest of Osun State, through the delta grooves of Rivers States to the industrial zone along the coastal zone of Lagos and Ogun States, investigations by FEFERITY MAGAZINE revealed dirty dark practices of China nationals in the country.
We visited, as undercover job seeker, to some factories in Sango/Ota Industrial zone of Ogun, Ikorodu and Ilupeju in Lagos States, our findings are most shocking.
In Sokoto State, two China nationals, Messrs. Meng Wei Kun and Xu Koi are currently facing trial over an attempt to bribe some operatives of the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) with 100 million naira. The two men were arrested for desperately trying to subvert investigations of a construction company, China Zhonghao Nig. Limited over a 50 billion naira contract awarded it by the zamfara State Government between 2012 and 2019.
In Zamfara and Katsina, the nationals of the Far Eastern country are also in the forefront of illegal mining activities, and security reports are reportedly, linking them to the large scale arms being used by the bandits in the two northern states.
In Osun State, over 30 Chinese have so far being arrested by the community security outfit, Operation Amotekun over illegal activities in the Ijesa area of the State, in connection with illegal exploration and mining of gold. These are capital offences in China, and naturally carry death penalty. But unfortunately, the punishments under the relevant extant laws in Nigeria are very light. Though, still a criminal offence but according to some legal opinions carry less than 25 years imprisonment or an option of some hefty fine, upon conviction.
Both in Ikorodu and In Sango/Ota Industrial axis of the South West, many of the Chinese nationals have their factories in these axis, once they were forced to relocate from Lagos Mainland, due to rising environmental hazards and other operational costs and logistics factors.
The tales of anguish from the workers, vast majority who are casuals were heart-rending. Mr. Chidi Obi, a foreman at a plastic recycling factory pleaded with our reporter not to venture to come and look for work in that particular company, and if even possible avoid any Chines national-owned factory like a plague.
Prodded to give reasons. He took a deep breath, looked up and down, hissed and then began mournfully. ‘My brother, when Buhari announced the first lockdown on March 30, we were here. There no access to any source of news, except you use your phone and that can only be done during break time. Apparently, the management heard the news break, but they hid it from us’, he stated.
The middle-aged foreman, who claims to have wasted over fifteen years in the company, started picking his words slowly, his voice becoming shaky. ‘By around 4.00: am, these people started gathering in one office close to the exit gate. They were discussing in their language. So nobody could pick what they were saying’.
‘Our night shift is usually 6.00: pm to 6.00: pm. And by 5.00 pm they Manager called me and started pleading with me to tell our people that there is lockdown and they would want us to remain in the factory for the two weeks duration of the lockdown. He promised to up our pay and allowances’.
This assurances were relayed back to the workers. They accepted. Unknown to them the Management had envisioned that the morning shift workers may not come because of the lockdown. They were right. Very few came. These few joined with those on the previous night duty.
That was how we were tricked to work for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, they only call us and gave us our daily wages, claiming they took care of us. The workers naturally protested. But since we were not properly and legally employed, it was easy for them to call in the police to come and disperse us.
Curiously, these Chinese nationals all refuse to speak to the press. Even when we appeared as undercover job seeker, they ask our correspondent to speak with the Foreman, who is usually a Nigeria. The story is similar in all the factories visited. In one of the factories, FEFERITY MAGAZINE visited in Ikorodu, Lagos State.
Alade Adekunmbi, a native of Ota was furious by the activities of the China nationals in the country. He told FEFERITY MAGAZINE in Ota during a chat ‘the most disgusting fact, and which the authorities, particularly the Immigrations, are not looking into is the fact that most of these Chinese are illegal immigrants. They do not have the required official papers to live and work in Nigeria’.
Alade was not the only one holding this opinion. Mr. Obi too was skeptical about the legality of their stay in the country. He told our correspondent that ‘some of these Chinese, once they arrived the country, which is usually by night, always stay permanently inside the factory’.
At a plastic manufacturing company in Ilupeju Industrial Estate, Lagos, our correspondent was regaled with different heart rendering tales of rights’ violations, sexual harassment and forced labour by the workers. The workers, usually, are casual workers. Ms. Vivian Onuh, told FEFERITY MAGAZINE that the Manager has a way of putting ladies on night shift duty.
‘Night shift duties are good opportunities for these Chinese to harass us for sex’, she poured out her mind to our correspondent. ‘This ugly practice is common in all the companies they run. When it is past midnight, they start this dirty harassment, threatening the girls with dismissal without payment of the outstanding wages’.
When asked why they still chose to remained in such situation, she retorted ‘the economic situation at home, the practically non-existent job opportunities outside, and the need to survive, are what keept most of us here’.
‘Some girls and even boys, who can’t stand the excesses and recklessness of the Chinese in most cases don’t stay long. Some leave after collecting a month’s wages. You know they pay us monthly, even though we are on daily wages’, she lamented to our Correspondent.
Afolayan Adebiyi,writes from Lagos, Nigeria
Feferity Media Group ©