May 23, 2012 / 5:00 PM / 7 years ago

Nigeria arrests 45 illegal Chinese textile traders

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria has arrested 45 Chinese illegal textiles traders in its main northern city of Kano and plans to deport them, the city’s top immigration official said on Wednesday.

Nigerian law forbids foreigners from certain trades meant to be reserved for locals, including selling clothes.

“Our men arrested 45 Chinese, 11 of them are women. We carried out this exercise to salvage our economy,” Kano controller of immigration Emmanuel Ifeadi told Reuters.

“We were directed to clear them from the market and this is going to be a continuous exercise ... Those people arrested now will soon be deported.”

Chinese embassy officials were not immediately available for comment.

China’s textiles trade with Africa is an emotive issue in Nigeria. Many Nigerians blame cheap Chinese imports for the decline of local textiles mills in the past few decades — although in reality chronic power shortages are at least as much to blame.

China is a major investor in Nigeria, making up some 25 percent of Nigeria’s foreign direct investment, according to trade and investment ministry figures. It is also a growing buyer of Nigeria’s high quality crude oil.

Chinese imports make up such a large portion of trade flows that the central bank put 10 percent of its reserves into the Chinese yuan last year.

Reporting by Mike Oboh; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Jon Hemming

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