Abuja - Nigeria said Wednesday it would deport five Chinese businessmen it accused of illegally importing textiles to the country's second city, Kano.
"The Chinese businessmen behind the massive illegal importation of textiles to Kano are to be deported from Nigeria," the Customs and Immigration services said in a joint statement.
"Five Chinese nationals were involved in the operation of illegal warehouses in Kano, where prohibited textile materials worth billions of naira were uncovered."
Customs spokesman Wale Adeniyi told AFP later that the five, aged between 26 and 35, did not posses valid travel documents to live and conduct business in Nigeria.
Local traders in Kano, a centre of weaving and manufacturing dating back centuries, have increasingly complained that imported Chinese-made textiles were under-cutting local goods.
Also read: 1 000s beg Australia not to deport autistic Filipino boy
They also claim Chinese traders engage in retail sales, which is prohibited to foreigners.
The Chinese were arrested earlier this month on suspicion of smuggling mass-produced fabrics and 26 warehouses containing goods on which import duties had not been paid were sealed.
Hundreds of textile dyers staged street protests against what they view as a Chinese takeover of their trade that threatens to put 30,000 artisans out of business.
The dyers, many of whom still use methods dating back more than 500 years, accused the Chinese of faking their products and selling inferior cloth at a fraction of the price.
Officials said on Wednesday they had recently shut 75 warehouses where some 4.2 billion naira ($21 million, 19.4 million euros) worth of textiles were kept.
In May 2012, immigration officials arrested and deported 45 Chinese nationals over retail trading after repeated complaints.