China has committed to refinancing and completing the Abuja-Kano and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects. In what could best be described as a major milestone for Nigeria at the ongoing Belt and Road Initiative Forum (BRI) in Beijing.
President of Peoples Republic of China, Xi Jinping, made the pledge on Wednesday while responding to requests made by President Bola Tinubu, who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, at a bilateral meeting with the Chinese leader in Beijing.
Since the launch of the projects, China is yet to release funds for the two major railway projects in Nigeria largely due to cutbacks and commitments.
China had agreed to provide 85 percent financing for the construction of the Abuja-Kano and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects, while Nigeria, which had the duty of paying the balance 15% paid its part of the funding from inception of the project through appropriations.
The Chinese President, who was visibly elated to receive the Nigerian delegation led by Vice President Shettima at the Peoples Building in China, pledged increased investment in Nigeria’s power generation and digital economy called for the protection of Chinese nationals working in Nigeria, saying he would, in turn, ensure that the Nigeria-China bilateral relation is stronger than before.
President Jinping promised that China will enhance political support and build cooperation in all fields, just as he appreciated Nigeria’s support of one China Policy.
Pledging to further deepen practical cooperations, the Chinese leader threw his weight behind the Renewed Hope Manifesto of President Bola Tinubu and his 8-point economic agenda adding that China will support Nigeria’s exports, especially as it relates to peanuts and others, even as the China-Africa talent initiative remain key in its cooperation with Nigeria.
In the area of security, President Jinping promised continued crackdown on terrorists, assuring categorically that China is committed to peace in the Sahel region, more so that its long-standing military trainings and MoUs on joint exercises remain sacrosanct.
Vice President Shettima, who delivered the well wishes of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu described the rail projects as very vital to the President and people of Nigeria, saying it remained a legacy project that would further open up the nation’s economy, create jobs and boost trade and investments across the country.
The vice president said President Tinubu remains committed to a stronger Nigeria-China tie, adding that it was laddened with respect, non-political interference and mutual international cooperation.
President Jinping had before his audience with Vice President Kashim Shettima, formally declared the Forum which had numerous heads of states and top government officials open.
VP Shettima says Nigeria will leverage ties with China to improve digital space.
(Editor : Ena Agbanoma)