By Uche Amunike
Sequel to an investigative story made by a rights group known as ‘Safeguard Defenders’ about China opening and operating a Chinese police station in Nigeria, some top Chinese officials were reached by newsmen for confirmation and they denied the reports on the condition of anonymity.
According to a report by Vanguard newspaper, Tuesday, a report made by the rights group and titled ‘110 Overseas Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild’, said that the China operates Chinese police stations to tackle criminal activities among its people living abroad.
Reacting during an interview with Vanguard, one of the top Chinese officials, Wednesday, stated that there was no way diplomatic relations could allow any country to open police stations in another sovereign country beyond its territories.
He however affirmed that there were outreaches in the countries that Chinese citizens were resident with the purpose of helping to protect them from crimes that might endanger their lives like abduction and terrorism.
Hear him: ‘Also, there is only one category of outreach services for Chinese communities so China does not have any intention or spare energy to run police stations outside its shores. I hope that maybe you can make an objective report.’
He talked about abduction cases in Nigeria as some of the cases handled by the outreach like when four Chinese nationals were abducted in June 2022 in Niger State.
His words: ‘You know in Nigeria, there are a lot of insecurity issues happening almost every day. I cannot remember, maybe September or August or July or June, there were terrorists, bandits, they had kidnapped a lot of innocent persons, and also among these innocent persons, there were some Chinese nationals’.
According to him, the outreach aided in joining forces with local security operatives in managing the situation. He continued: ‘What I mean (by the outreach services) is that every nation has its mission to care for and help their own nationals. Says another source from the China side.’
‘So they have no right, they have no power to decide or command Nigeria government or police forces, what they can only do is to assist or play the outside role to help the Chinese nationals.’
‘So the fundamental reason or factor is the locals and the Nigerian government, so we fully respect the sovereignty issue. So there is no sovereignty issue, so the report ( Safeguard Defenders’ ‘110 Overseas Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild’) is fake news,’, he concluded.
On their part, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria(HURIWA) has demanded that Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari addressed Nigerians on this trending news about China setting up Chinese police stations in the country, stating that Nigerians deserved to be properly informed about it in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act of 2023 and the section 22 of the Nigerian constitution which enables government to provide infirm to the media.
Part of the statement released by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko read: ‘Should it be true that Nigeria under President Buhari has permitted China to set up a police station within Nigeria’s sovereign territorial jurisdiction then it is a gross breach of our sovereignty of Nigeria’.