The Government of the Republic of China has extended its deadline to the 15th of December,2009 for the cremation of about 21 Nigerians who died in China. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja released this press statement:
"The Government of China, after another diplomatic representation by the Nigerian Embassy in Beijing, has graciously extended the deadline when the remains of all foreigners still lying in the various mortuaries in that country must be claimed or will be cremated according to Chinese laws. The new date is now 15th December, 2009."
"Information received from our Mission in China indicates that the Nigerians died in that country from various causes ranging from sickness/illness, motor vehicle accidents, drowning, drugs and unknown causes, whose remains are yet to be claimed by their relations or families."
Unfortunately, efforts by the Ministry and our Mission in Beijing, China to contact the families and next - of - kin of the deceased have not been successful due to paucity of information on the deceased at the time of death. In cases where such information were found (such as telephone numbers on some of the deceased,), when they were contacted, there were no responses; and in other cases, the family members who responded were not cooperative, regarding decision on what to do with the corpses of their relations."
Some of the deceased include are Akinola Akinsanya, who died in Guangzhou of unknown causes; Chris Nwanekezie who died in Dongguan from a car accident; Tunde Bombata who slumped and died in Beijing; Susanah Imbasi who died of AIDS in Beijing and Tunmise Razak who drowned in Nanjing.
The press statement continue: "The general public and in particular members and family of the deceased are kindly requested to urgently contact the Ministry (Consular and Immigration Services Division) to indicate how they wish to arrange to repatriate the remains of their loved ones for burial in Nigeria or in the alternative, grant appropriate approval for cremation by the Chinese Authorities."
"Chinese authorities have stressed that failure to comply with the new deadline of 15th December 2009, they would, inline with its domestic laws, cremate these bodies, some of which been in the mortuaries since 2006. It also should be noted that it is truly a gesture of goodwill, respect for Nigeria's culture and the dead, coupled with the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries that the Government of the Peoples Republic of China has not over the years taken the unilateral decision to cremate the bodies."
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