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Over 5,000 Nigerians Enslaved In Chinese Prison- Survivor 

Daud Olatunji

A survivor and  former inmate of Dongguan Prison in Guangdong, China, Mr. Onowu Chukwuemeka, has shared his distressing experiences and called for urgent intervention from President Bola Tinubu’s administration to rescue Nigerians suffering and dying in the facility.

Chukwuemeka, who spent 15 years in the prison, spoke to The PUNCH in Owerri, Imo State, revealing that many of the inmates, including over 5,000 Nigerians, endure severe mistreatment and injustices. 

He described Dongguan Prison as a labour camp where prisoners are exploited and subjected to harsh conditions.

“This labour camp masquerading as a prison has become a living nightmare for over 5,000 Nigerians, many of whom are innocent of the crimes they were charged with,” Chukwuemeka said. 

He highlighted that a significant number of Nigerians in the prison were wrongfully accused, with compromised court-appointed attorneys working in collusion with the Chinese government.

“Inmates are coerced into working gruelling hours for various manufacturing companies under false promises of reduced sentences if they meet their production targets. 

Chukwuemeka recounted that those who fail to meet quotas face brutal beatings, starvation, and solitary confinement. 

He also revealed that many inmates have died from inhaling toxic fumes and handling hazardous materials while assembling products like phone chargers, headphones, and lamps. 

The food provided, often half-cooked rice and vegetables, is barely enough to sustain life.

Chukwuemeka recalled a fleeting moment of hope when a Nigerian envoy visited the prison during ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. 

However, this effort ceased with the change in government, and subsequent visits from the Nigerian embassy stopped.

PLATFORM TIMES gathered that during the eight years of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, despite widespread outrage from human rights organisations, neither the Nigerian Ambassador in China nor his emissaries visited the prison, leaving the inmates without support or advocacy.

It was also gathered that the  Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), through its Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwaguma, has also lamented the suffering and injustices faced by Nigerians in Dongguan Prison. 

Efforts by The PUNCH to contact the prison authorities were unsuccessful due to language barriers, as all communications on the access portal were in Chinese.

PLATFORM TIMES reports that Chukwuemeka’s plea to President Bola Tinubu’s administration underscores the urgent need for diplomatic intervention to address the severe human rights abuses faced by Nigerians in Chinese prisons.

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