Abuja Chinese Supermarket Discriminates Against Nigerians

The management of a Chinese supermarket located in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, does not allow Nigerians to shop in the facility.

The supermarket situated at the China General Chamber of Commerce, along Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Road in Abuja, is an acclaimed destination for Chinese cuisine and beverages.

Security personnel at the gate confirmed that the management of the store gave the directive at the beginning of the year without giving reasons.

One of the officers, who didn’t wear his name tag and declined to disclose his name, said prospective shoppers who were not Chinese were turned back at the gate as directed by the management.

The officer said, “For now, they (management) have stopped everything. The truth is that they are selling, but they said our people should stop coming. They said only Chinese individuals are allowed to shop here. The shop is only meant for Chinese people. People were allowed to come in throughout last year, but since January, they changed the policy and directed that no Nigerian is allowed to enter.

“We were not informed of any reason for the policy, but we have told them to remove all adverts from the Internet so that people would stop coming.”

Our correspondent was, however, allowed entrance because, according to the officer, “Today is Sunday, and you are covered with grace.”

At the grocery store located at Villa 7, a mixture of foreign and local food, drinks, and essential items was showcased on the shelf with no price tag.

One of the attendants, who spoke Yoruba language, expressed shock that a Nigerian was allowed to gain entry, noting that “Maybe they allowed because you didn’t come with a car.”

She also stated that authorities stopped Nigerians from entering for reasons not known to them.

She noted, “Yes, Nigerians are not allowed to enter the supermarket. Only people who work on the premises are allowed to shop here. There are reasons but we don’t know because it was not like this before. I don’t know how they allowed you in, maybe because you didn’t come with a car. They would never allow anyone who comes with a car to enter the premises.”

When our correspondent asked for the contact of the general manager to get official explanations, both security officers and staff refused to give it out for fear of reprimand and loss of job.

But an official number obtained from the Google page of the chamber, identified by TrueCaller as Yemi Oke, Agrolink Consultants Limited, was not reachable.

On his part, the Senior Public Relations Officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Nicholas Utsalo, refrained from offering comment, citing protocol that only allows the executive vice-chairman to address the press.

Instead, he requested access to the video footage and assured the public that an investigation into the allegations would be conducted.

Reacting, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Afam Osigwe, criticised the action, asserting that it bore resemblance to racism and emphasised the need for heightened awareness and measures to address such discriminatory behaviour.

He urged the government to take immediate action and thoroughly investigate the issue to ensure that such occurrences did not happen anywhere within the country.

He said, “It is worrisome that a foreign-owned business in Nigeria would discriminate against nationals of a country by denying them entrance.

“Everything is wrong with any business opening and then applying a system likened to racism in the United States where blacks and other coloured persons were not allowed into public transport vehicles and even into business spaces.

“This act is very condemnable. No foreign-owned businesses in Nigeria should deny access to their premises. It is wrong, and the Nigerian government should look into it to ensure that such a thing doesn’t happen anywhere in the country.”