Thursday, April 25, 2024

Chinese supermarket in Nigeria shut for allegedly barring Nigerians

A Chinese-owned supermarket in Nigeria's capital has been shut by the authorities over allegations that it denies entry to African shoppers.

The supermarket in Abuja allegedly "exclusively permits individuals of Chinese descent to enter", Nigeria's consumer protection watchdog said on X.

It has summoned the supermarket's owner.

The Chinese chamber of commerce in Nigeria has denied the racism allegations.

The supermarket is a tenant in a building run by the China General Chamber of Commerce (CGCC).

Boladale Adeyinka, an official at Nigeria's Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), said that the watchdog had launched an investigation into the allegations.

This follows widespread outrage on social media after some Nigerians shared their experiences of allegedly being turned away by security when they attempted to go to the supermarket.

In one of the videos, a man said he had discovered the supermarket online but was blocked from entering the complex where it is located.

"At the gate, the security people told me that the supermarket is strictly for Chinese people. If you are a Nigerian, you can't go inside or buy anything," he said in the clip posted on X, formerly Twitter.

In another video on X, a group of Nigerians are seen visiting a building to verify the reports that non-Chinese shoppers were being turned away.

A security guard outside the entrance appears to tell them that the supermarket had cut off access to Nigerians since January.

Several Nigerians have demanded the closure of the supermarket, including former senator Shehu Sani, who said that any store in Nigeria that was not accessible to citizens "should be forcibly opened or be pulled down".

In a statement quoted by local media, the CGCC said it stood for "equality and inclusiveness".

"Our principles are to enhance friendship between the people of both countries and promote economic development," it added.

The FCCPC quoted an administrator at the building, Sanusi Shuabiu, as saying that the supermarket mainly sold Chinese groceries and that while it was initially opened to serve the building's tenants, it permitted entry to outside shoppers, including non-Chinese visitors.

The supermarket's owner has not yet commented.

She has been summoned to appear before the consumer protection agency by Wednesday.

The watchdog says that the supermarket will remain closed until she complies with the summons.

Nigeria has a Chinese population of less than 10,000, according to the Statista website.

By Mansur Abubakar & Gloria Aradi, BBC

Related story: Video - Trade ties deepen between China and Nigeria

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