China has offered to help Nigeria complete the multi-billion naira Mambila Hydro Power project in Taraba state.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, after a closed-door meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the special envoy of President Xi Jinping of China, Mr Yang Jiechi, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
“It was a meeting with the President with an overview of the support and cooperation between Nigeria and China and how we can take that cooperation forward.
“In the area of power and in particular the President emphasized the Mambila project and the importance of getting that moving again and the Chinese are committed to that.
“They also looked at our airports, especially the four terminals that the Chinese are helping construct around the country, the progress with that and the Chinese to that.
“On the global level, they are giving us support with the United Nations reform, especially for Africa to be represented in the Security Council,” he said.
The minister also told journalists that China has offered to help finance the stewardship of Nigeria as the President of the forthcoming 74th session of the United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA.)
“We have just had a Nigerian, our representative at the United Nations, Professor Bande, elected as the next President of UNGA and the Chinese have provided a funding for that office so that he can function effectively over the next one year,” he said.
On agriculture, the minister said China also provided support in that sector and also encouraged Nigeria to export more to China.
“We know that there would be a China economic exhibition by the end of this year which will be a platform for us to also showcase what we can export to China; not just agricultural products but also other finished products,” he said.
The minister said China has also offered to help Nigeria’s military with arms production and sharing of intelligence in order to tackle the problem of insurgency and fight against terrorism.
He said China would also help recharge the Lake Chad for the benefit of countries within the Lake Chad basin, including Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Ambassador to China, Mr Baba Ahmad Jidda, said Nigeria has maintained a long relationship with China, spanning almost 50 years.
Underscoring the importance of the visit by the Chinese envoy, the ambassador said: “There is a very close diplomatic relation between Nigeria and China, as a matter of fact by next year we will celebrate 50 years of our diplomatic relations, having signed the first bilateral agreement in 1971.
“During President Buhari’s tenure, which started in 2915, he undertook two official visits to China and during those visits, a number of memoranda of understanding and agreements were signed, especially under the Forum for China Africa Cooperation so this high level visit which has not been undertaken in the last five years by Chinese authorities is very significant in our diplomatic relations.”
He said in the year 2015, China assisted African countries with the sum of $60 billion and Nigeria was the major beneficiary of the intervention.