‘Over 2,000 Nigerians dying in Chinese prisons’

• Man deported from China smuggles notes from Dong-guan prison
• Stay off drugs, Nigerians in China advised
By Tope Templer Olaiya, Metro Editor
THREE days after Chijioke Obioha, a 38-year-old Nigerian, was executed in Singapore for drug trafficking, The Guardian has received a prison note smuggled out of Dong-guan prison in China by a source, which describe graphic details of the plights of over 2,000 Nigerians languishing in the Chinese prison.
Obioha was hanged in Changi Prison early on Friday morning alongside a Malaysian national who was convicted on separate drugs offenses. He was arrested in April 2007 after being found in possession of more than 2.6 kilograms of cannabis. The quantity surpassed the 500 grams threshold that triggers the automatic presumption of trafficking under Singaporean law.

Chijioke Obioha executed recently

Chijioke Obioha executed recently

At the weekend, a fresh deportee from China, who had a brief stint in the Dong-guan prison and managed to hide dozens of prison notes scribbled on tissue papers in his anus, said the prison facility alone where he was held for over three months had more than 2,000 Nigerians detained for various reasons, mostly drug-related.

According to him, many Nigerians have been incapacitated owning to the daily torture meted out to them by prison officials, while a lot more are on death row waiting for the hangman.

“One of the most commonly form of torture is the shocking treatment where inmates are given continuous shocking from an electric device for up to two hours. When going through this procedure, most of us urinate and defecate on our pants. Some people, who have spent some time there have developed brain damage or some form of mental problems,” he said.

Excerpts of the letter read: “Dear fellow citizens of Nigeria, this is the voice of your compatriots suffering in Chinese prison. We have been looking for an opportunity to make our plights known to the public, but God is so kind, one of us is being released now. This is why we are using him as our contact to the outside world.

“Many of us have a very heavy sentence of death and life imprisonment and some of us have spent over 15 years in prison. We want our home government to come to our aid. We are being treated like animals, mostly Nigerians and other Africans.

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“We are tortured daily with electric device. The worst part is that it is our fellow prisoners officials use to carry out this torture. When we ask why they do this to us, they say it is because we are blacks, our government don’t care for us and our government can’t do anything to them.

“The only reason many of us have not committed suicide is the hope of being transferred some day to our home country. Some countries like Ethopia, Senegal, Iran, Jordan, Colombia and Yemen have started taking their citizens back home and we believe the Nigerian embassy is fully aware of our plights but have refused to take any action.

“We are made to work long hours in factory every day without any salary being paid to us. Yet, we are not well fed. The only thing left for them to do is to exterminate us or put us in the gas chamber just as the Nazis did to the Jewish people.”

Inside the Dong-guan prison

Inside the Dong-guan prison

An online report on Dong-guan’s prison system in 2013 claimed that of the 5,000 inmates in the jail on Xinzhou Island in Dong-guan’s Shijie Village, there are about 1,500 foreign nationals from 53 countries. Most of them are there for drug-related crimes.

Also, according to another news report on the Dong-guan prison, electrocution, beatings and suicide are part of everyday life.

Danny Cancian, a New Zealand national, was released from the jail last year, and was quoted in an article as saying for the four years he spent locked up in Dong-guan, a stint during which he didn’t see the sun or the stars, “there were people hanging themselves every week. They had to take all the wire clothes lines out of the cells,” he said.

Based on his account, six days of every week, prisoners would be marched at 5am to a factory next door to the prison — after a breakfast of rice water — where they would work until eight in the evening.

A truck pulls out of the Dongguan Prison in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, China.

A truck pulls out of the Dongguan Prison in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, China.

THE President of Good Governance Initiative (GGI), a non-governmental organisation and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Blue Diamond Logistics, based in China, Mr. Festus Mbisiogu, has raised the alarm over Nigerians languishing in Chinese prisons for alleged drug trafficking, warning them to stay off drugs.

He said Nigerian businessmen in China contributes to over 70 per cent of China’s growing economy and were doing well, regretting that only a few had marred this laudable effort through drug trafficking and other social vices.

While reminding them that death by hanging is the penalty for drug-related offences in China, he urged Nigerians doing business there to say no to illicit drug trafficking and desist from crimes that could dent the image of Nigeria abroad.

Mbisiogu, who was the keynote speaker at the forum, which sought to rebuild the image of Nigeria abroad, noted that though both countries have had a very strong trade relationship over the years, Nigerians in China were still placed under heavy diplomatic restrictions owing to crimes and illicit drug trafficking.

“In Guangdong Province alone, Nigerians contribute to over 80 per cent of SME development that has revolutionised the means of doing business between Africans in China and Chinese entrepreneurs.

“In the city of Guangzhou alone, a predominantly Nigerian business area, daily business transactions have been recorded to exceed a cash return of $5 million.

“Yet, Nigerians continue to suffer one of the worst forms of stereotype between Chinese citizens and its foreign visitors, virtually in every aspect of economic and social lives. Today, because of the involvement of some Nigerians in illicit drug trafficking in China, we are not truly enjoying the benefits of our trade relationship with them. Instead, we are being profiled on a daily basis and denied some privileges, which ordinarily should have come to us as people contributing significantly to the growth of their economy.”

Mbisiogu, therefore, called on Nigerians in China to work hard to protect the image of the country abroad.

He said: “In Guangdong Province, Nigerians are no longer giving residents’ permit. There is also no visa extension. Nigerians, who are married and residing in China are not given residents’ permit. That is why many of us do not have our families here with us. Our citizens, who come here to study are not allowed to work unlike the citizens of other countries.”

 

‘Over 2,000 Nigerians dying in Chinese prisons’

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What was the single deadliest hour in human history?

• 1556 Shaanxi Earthquake
The morning hours on the 23rd January 1556 in Shaanxi, China. On this day, the deadliest recorded earthquake ever occurred, killing roughly 830,000 although that is an estimate. It is the third worst Natural Disaster ever recorded, however unlike the other, deadlier natural disasters, this occurred over a very short period, making it the single deadliest hour in human history.

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An 840km wide area in the provinces of Shaanxi, Henan, Gansu, Hebei, Shandong, Hubei, Hunan, Jiansu and Anhui was destroyed. That’s larger than 24 countries, including Singapore, Tonga and Bahrain. This massive death toll is thought to have reduced the population of the two provinces by about 60 percent.

It is believed to have been 8.0 on the Richter scale, which would make it devastating even in a country which was built to combat earthquakes, but what made the problem worse was that many Chinese people lived in Yaodongs. Yaodong means ‘house cave’. It is estimated that 40 million people in China still live in these Yaodongs.

A beautiful example of a Yaodong

A beautiful example of a Yaodong

Now when the Earthquake occurred, landslides occurred in these mountains, and the inhabitants on the Yaodongs were crushed. It is estimated that 810,000 of the deaths came from people dying in collapsed Yaodongs.

 

Twins, 25, invent Made-in-Nigeria appliances

• Seek support for mass production, to create employment
By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor

Taiwo and Kehinde Ilesanmi displaying some of their Made-in-Nigeria products

Taiwo and Kehinde Ilesanmi displaying some of their Made-in-Nigeria products

TELEVISION personality, Oprah Winfrey, once told her audience: “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.”
Smarting from the burden of a broken home and the challenge of lacking maternal care after being raised by their father without a silver spoon, Taiwo and Kehinde Ilesanmi at a very young age decided to brave the odds and act on their inquisitive minds.
It is little wonder then that most of their inventions are solutions to the intractable power problems the country has been grappling with for decades.
Walking past them on the road, they could easily be mistaken for one of the numerous destitute children pounding the streets of Lagos, but today, at age 25, they are proud owners of some innovative wholly made-in-Nigeria products that are sure to meet a dire need in most parts of the country.
Patented under their registered trademark Tikemade, some of their fascinating products include a rechargeable desktop that can be used to charge one’s phone for at least two weeks and a wireless extension connected to home appliances that can be remotely controlled by a mobile phone from anywhere in the world.
It’s not ended, in their bag of inventions are a security foot-mat that immediately notifies you on your mobile phone when someone steps on it in your absence, rechargeable lamp and a device that automatically switches off your generating set once electricity is restored and also change over the electrical switchboard from the generating set to PHCN.
Explaining the magic of their products, which are miles ahead of the imported China or Japanese appliances that flood the Nigerian market, Taiwo said once the rechargeable desktop is charged for about two hours, that is what the small bowl-like device needs to charge at least 10 mobile phones of different charging ports at a time for upwards of two weeks.
“This device is highly needed in areas where access to electricity or generating set is scarce and such communities abound in this country. There is also a USB cord to connect it with modern gadgets and a space for desktop battery charging. The chargers of all major brands of phones are also attached to the device.”
“For the wireless extension, it is an extension box where all home appliances can be connected to. The extension box can be controlled with a mobile phone. In the event that you are not around and you forgot to switch off your appliance before leaving home, you can dial a code on your mobile phone and all the appliances connected to the extension would be switched off without the network service provider deducting any money from your credit.”
“It is free on any network and it is universal, meaning it can be operated from any part of the world. We are already working on our next project, which is a Nigerian-made FM radio,” Taiwo boasted.
Interestingly, all the materials for their products are sourced locally. Apart from a version of the regular rechargeable lamps, which can be found in most homes in Nigeria, also in their kitty is a security foot-mat. Anywhere it is placed, once activated, it will immediately notify you on your mobile phone if someone steps on it, especially in your absence.
These gifted twins hail from Ondo State, but live in Ejigbo, Lagos State. They have since their tender ages at St. Jonah Nursery and Primary School, Daleko Ejigbo, been interested in technological discovery. As kids, they would dismantle little handheld devices to satisfy their curiosity and couple them back.
Never far apart from each other, they proceeded to Ajumoni Grammar School, Okota and in no time joined the school’s Junior Engineering Technology (JET) club. Once settled in the club, they explored their inventive minds and helped win some laurels for the school.
Their efforts didn’t go unrewarded, as they were bestowed with the Best Student in Creativity award before concluding their secondary education.
It was at this point they got stuck. With no funds to further their education, they enrolled in a School of Aviation based in Ikotun, while devoting their energies to their fast fingers and taking the brave effort to push out some of their products.
“Our major concern now is marketing these products. They are useful, sellable and a solution to many people’s problems. All our products have warranty and we can be reached anywhere if there are problems with it. We give six months warranty on all the products. After the warranty period has elapsed, we would still repair the products at a reasonable cost because we are the manufacturers, this is the edge our products have over China products,” Taiwo said.
“Many of those who have seen these products are responding positively by demanding for more but we are unable to meet up with the rising demand because of the financial burden of mass production. We, therefore, need partners that would support us in mass-producing these products for the benefits of all Nigerians. Also, this will reduce unemployment in Nigeria, as it will create jobs. We need technology to advance the country and encourage other people with similar ideas too,” Kehinde noted.
The twins can be reached on 07045285650 or ilesanmitaiwo4real@yahoo.com.