Posted on | juli 23, 2012 | No Comments
I have had the opportunity of meeting, at his office, the former Consul-General of China in Lagos, Mr. Guo Kun during his tenure and he was such a warm person to the media. He often displayed some pictures he took with important personalities in Nigeria. In one of the pictures, he was in a warm embrace with the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY newspapers, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena. I am sure he took this home or to his next posting as a memorabilia.
During our interaction, he told me much about China, their culture and the type of government they run. He made me realise that the country is opening its economy to the outside world.
“You’re people have good cultures and policies too. In China, we have to have one child and my only son in the United States doing his studies. Here you’re allowed to have many” he told me.
Recently, I was given an opportunity to travel to the Asian country for the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to do a report but could not because the Consulate-General in Lagos said no. Though I have no special taste or has not developed any special interest in travelling to China except for reportorial reasons, I decided to narrate my experience and observation here so that the Lagos Consulate-General may not isolate some media personalities who might be relevant to the China-Africa burgeoning relationship.
China has an ambition in Africa. THISDAY also has a very clear and ambitious media vision for this continent and embraces those who decided to invest and make it great.
On that day, reason for sending me out of the Consulate-General as given by the official who spoke to me on phone simply identified as the Chief Protocol Officer was that before a journalist travels to China, the person must have an invitation from the country’s government but I doubted this assertion because I had a letter from Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs where our Foreign Affairs Minister. Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru requested that I be allowed to cover the event China. The same letter given to some of my colleagues was honoured by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Abuja.
I later learnt that another management staff of THISDAY, whose name I have not been permitted to mention, was refused visa at the same Consulate-General in Lagos. And the Consulate-General has on its website an interview conducted with the former Acting Consul-General, Mr. Mr. Qiu Jian titled ‘China is Nigeria’s Best Partner in Technology, Infrastructure’, therefore this media company could not be said to be obscure for the Visa Clearance Officers.
I feel that there is an official of the Consulate who has not briefed the new Consul-General, Liu Xianfa well on the importance of some media houses in Nigeria and their willingness to work hand-in-hand with his country to foster good diplomatic relations. Our company has a sprawling ambition that has embraced the United States, United Kingdom, France and more countries.
Moreover, most media houses have their headquarters in Lagos and fall into the jurisdiction of the Consul-General located within the city. It may be hectic for media men to travel all the way to Abuja because they have some engagements in the Asian country when a Consulate is in Lagos. Most media engagements do not come with an invitation. For instance if there is a sudden breaking news and a media house decides to send a reporter, what is required is an introduction letter from the company. We cannot hurriedly ask for invitation to cover a sudden occurrence.
Apart from the foregoing, as a reporter, I observed that touts, about seven of them, were very busy at the entrance of the Consulate-General on the day I was there. One of them, a lady, was ordered by a policeman to leave the queue for visa seekers and she refused. After several warnings, she moved to another angle and I later observed him winking at the same policeman who smiled back.
From time to time, we get stories of Nigerians being arrested for sundry crimes in China and most of them are in jail. It may not be the best practice to give access to criminal minded persons while important personalities with no iota of crime record, who have established themselves in their country and the world, kept away from your country.