By IKENNA EMEWU
The Chinese foreign mission in Nigeria comprising the Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate in Lagos have listed great strides the diplomatic relations between China and Nigeria have achieved in the past 50 years.
They made the commendations in different statements sent to the ACE as part of the anniversary.
In his statement to the ACE, the Consul General in Lagos, Mr. Chu Maoming recalled that “mutual understanding, mutual trust, and mutual support have always been the most important experience in past 50 years between China and Nigeria. We thank Nigeria for siding with China on issues concerning China’s core interests. China will also continue to firmly support Nigeria in safeguarding national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and support Nigeria in playing a bigger role in regional and international issues.”
Chu further said that “China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria established diplomatic relations, opening a brand new chapter in the history of friendly exchanges between the two great countries. Over the past 50 years, political mutual trust has enhanced, practical cooperation has boomed and people-to-people exchanges have deepened. China-Nigeria cooperation has become a crucial part of China-Africa cooperation and South-South cooperation nowadays.
Calling for more fruitful years ahead, Chu challenged that: “Our future is greater than our past. We firmly believe China-Nigeria strategic partnership is bound to embrace broader prospects and make greater contributions to peace and development of Africa and to stability and prosperity of the world under our concerted efforts.”
He further noted that “Year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Nigeria. The Chinese Consulate General in Lagos would like to take this opportunity to extend sincere gratitude to Nigerian friends and all those who care about the cause of friendship between China and Nigeria.
Also, the Chinese Head of Mission and Charge D’Affairs, Abuja, Mr. Zhao Yong in his message and address said a lot coincidentally exist between China and Nigeria. “There are so many things in common between the two countries. China is the most populous country in Asia, while Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. China is the largest economy in Asia, while Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa. Both China and Nigeria are countries with multiple ethnic groups and multiple religions coexisting in harmony. Besides, there is a unique common point only between China and Nigeria – the two countries all celebrate the October 1st as their National Day.
Mr. Zhao in Abuja itemized the major gains and achievements of the two countries in the past years. He noted that above all other gains, today, 6,800 Nigerians students are currently studying in China and that represents the highest from any African country.
He also recalled that since 1971, the trade between China and Nigeria has grown 1900 times and peaked in 2019 with USD19.27b.
He stated that: “Projects like Abuja-Kaduna railway, Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone, currency swap, satellite launching, and joint marine scientific exploration, are the first of its kind in Africa. In September 2018, during President Muhammadu Buhari’s attendance at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), China and Nigeria signed the Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, which lifted bilateral cooperation to a new level. In 2019, the trade volume between China and Nigeria reached USD19.27 billion.”
The chief diplomat also vowed that: “China is ready to work with Nigerian friends to speed up the implementation of the consensus reached during the visit by Mr. Wang Yi, and continuously push forward the development of China-Nigeria strategic partnership, so as to build a stronger and closer China-Nigeria community with a shared future. Let’s create the next glorious 50 years of bilateral relations together.
Meanwhile, China-Nigeria relation, which has been a pacesetter in China-Africa cooperation, has gone beyond the bilateral scope. China is ready to work with Nigeria to uphold multilateralism and oppose unilateral actions; to uphold free trade and oppose protectionism.”