By Ifeanyi Nwoko
Nigeria and the government of the Peoples Republic of China on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to establish an inter-governmental committee that will coordinate the cooperation and relations between both countries.
The Committee which will be co-chaired by the Foreign Affairs Ministers of both countries will also strive to deepen the cooperation between both countries, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffery Onyeama said in Abuja.
Onyeama disclosed this while briefing newsmen after a closed door meeting with the Chinese State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi who is visiting Nigeria as first of five countries in Africa to be visited.
Nigeria’s foreign minister while lauding the establishment of the committee, noted that the decision by his Chinese counterpart to visit Nigeria first was a reflection of the importance which China attached to her relationship with Nigeria.
He pointed out that China had contributed greatly to the successes recorded in the priority areas of the current administration as declared by President Muhammadu Buhari, which include infrastructure development, economy diversification and job creation.
“He is on a five country tour of Africa and has selected Nigeria to be the first country that he visits, this is not a coincidence, it is a deliberate decision that reflects the importance that they attach to the relationship between both countries.
“This visit by the State Councillor is a very important one, we have held discussions and we agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding on establishing an inter-governmental Committee that will be in charge of coordinating all aspects of cooperation between the two countries in many areas in many sectors in which we are cooperating with the Chinese
“In our meeting today we talked about transportation, our railways, defense system, political matters and how to structure political cooperation.
At the end of the talks the Chinese government through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced a donation to Nigeria of 100 million Renminbis, the Chinese local currency which we reckon to be roughly 50 million dollars or N6 billion,” he said.
Some of the Minister on the Nigerian delegation included: Minister of Industry Trade and Investment Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Education Adamu Adamu and the Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika.
Also giving an account of the closed door meeting, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi who spoke through an interpreter, said that the traditional friendships between Nigeria and China needed to be advanced.
He corroborated that both countries had agreed to set up intergovernmental committee that will synergise Chinese new developments, deepen cooperation and advance key projects to support more rapid industrialisation in Nigeria.
“We will expand cooperation into new areas of digital and green economy to make development more diversified.
“Our two countries will continue to work closely on COVID-19 response and strongly support each other to a final victory which is a cure.
“We will further engage in military and security cooperation to contribute to the Nigeria’s national security capacity building, we will also coordinate in regional and international affairs.
“We have every confidence that China-Nigeria strategic partnership will embrace and even brighter future, together we will make a great contribution to Africa’s peace and development for the stability and prosperity of the World,” he said. (NAN)