Africans in China

[Community] Nigerians in Chinese jails: ‘My brother is innocent’ (a petition)

As African presence grows and consolidates in China, there are many different stories. Below you can read a letter that got sent to asking for support in what has been perceived as an injustice by the Chinese judiciary system. Currently, according to different sources, around about 500 Nigerian are serving sentences in Chinese jails. Interestingly, while ‘western’ (and westernised) media is always ready to victimise African migrants, when they are indeed victims, not many a western journo seems to think this is of relevance. If you are interested in signing this petition, click here.


My name is Olu a Nigerian resident in Beijing China. My brother has been sentenced by the Chinese people local court to 10 years in prison for an alleged robbery case he knows nothing about. There is every indication to proof his innocence but the court has refused to grant all his proof.

He was arrested and detained on late October 2012 before he was sentenced on early November this year. His lawyer has made an appeal on his behalf which the court has accepted but due to the Chinese law I don’t think the appeal would make any change if proper measure is not taken.

The Nigerian embassy is aware of this incident but they have refused to show any interest.  They even declined the invitation extended to them by the court on two instances during the sittings. I believe their presence at the court would have made a very good impact but am yet to understand why they never showed up. While I was at the embassy, after the court judgment, to complain about their failure to attend the court’s invitation, the Deputy Chief of Mission threatened me with the police because he felt I was not in a position to question their authority. Since then I have been restricted from the embassy.

My brother’s lawyers have really tried to proof his innocence but with regards to the Chinese judiciary law they have limited power to defend their clients especially when the prosecutor has submitted their final verdict to the court.

The Chinese judiciary system is one I respect very much because of their very good records of operating a fair and responsible judgment but on this case there is a high degree of misconception from the prosecutor due to the high degree of conspiracy of the complaints.

I know I don’t have the final say or authority to proof my brother’s innocence, and that is why I am calling on fellow Nigerians, and whomever else may be interested in helping, to call on The Federal Government to call the attention of the Nigerian Embassy in Beijing to help me follow up the case at the appeal court so that the court can make sure my brother is proven innocent and released and if he has been found guilty of this allegation, which I largely doubt, they should be able to give substantial evidence(s).

There is no doubt that there are several Nigerians who are involved in various criminal activities in China, but at the same time there are several Nigerians whom have established themselves very well and positively in their various fields in China. The police and the court all over the world are human beings, no matter how diligent their system might be, they sometimes make mistakes in their assessment and judgment. The negligence and uncared attitude of the Nigerian embassy when some of its citizens are in situations like this has resulted in having several innocent Nigerians languishing in Chinese jails. They are the only ones that can rescue Nigerians in situation like this by defending our human rights. I am not saying they should support those Nigerians who are really involved in criminal activities. No upright country would defend her nationals who go to another country to dent the image of the country by getting involved in criminal activities; but they owe it a duty to protect our nationals anywhere and time their rights were infringed upon.

Chinese are very accommodating people but sometimes they treat foreigners according to the way their country treats their own nationals. The Chinese are not the ones making us to live under pressure in China but our own authorities.

Please I am calling on the whole Nigerians and others concerned to help me add their voice(s) so that the Nigerian government can call the attention of the Nigerian embassy in Beijing to show interest in my brother’s case.  I know they don’t have the authority to tell the Chinese government to just release my brother. All I want is for them to help him in defending his human rights and make sure they give him the right judgment.

The most pathetic is that his wife was also sentenced with him and right now there is no one to take care of their two babies (aged 3 and 1 years old).  My brother is Type 2 diabetic and I learnt he complains of inadequate medical attention at the detention. I don’t want my brother’s case to be like the Florida man James Bain who was found innocent after spending 35 years in prison or like the reported case of Yu Yinsheng in China who was found innocent after spending 17 years in jail on the alleged of his wife murder.

I still believe in the Chinese judiciary system and that is why we have made appeal to the Supreme Court. We hope that if the court thoroughly looks into this case, and with the interest of the Nigeria embassy in Beijing, the court would finally make the right judgment.



 If you are interested in signing this petition, click here.

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