The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is on a visit to China.
Shortly after his arrival President Muhammadu Buhari was pictured greeting primary school students during the usual review of an honor guard. The president of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping was on ground at the Great Hall during the welcome ceremony yesterday.
China made a promise to grant assistance that will enable Nigeria overcome problems militating against the economy, industrialization and agricultural development. The visit comes at a good time when Nigeria is suffering from fuel scarcity and fall in oil prices.
President Muhammadu Buhari arrived with a delegation made up of of 12 ministers, six governors, 35 high-ranking officials and 160 business moguls.
This is his first official visit to the Asian superpower since taking over reigns from his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
The Chinese president Xi Jinping included in his speech that “the development strategies of our two countries fit each other, and our economies are highly complementary. We have huge potential for cooperation.”
A bilateral co-operation between the two countries is expected to open doors to greater development. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil and natural gas producer while China remains one of the biggest players in world’s economic, political and military engagements.
Xi added that Nigeria is undeniably facing problems in completing huge infrastructure projects, lack of capital and an upward trend in brain-drain which can be reversed.
One of the benefits from president Buhari’s meeting with the Chinese counterpart at the Great Hall yesterday is that the two presidents agreed to deepen cooperation in areas including oil refining, mineral exploration and agriculture.
Another highlight of the meeting was the signing ceremony.
China’s ICBC and Nigeria’s Central Bank signed a mandate letter regarding Chinese cooperation and renminbi transactions.
Nigeria has included the Chinese yuan in it’s foreign exchange services. Therefore, the agreement makes this African pride, the first country in the continent to do so.
A total of five agreements were signed in the areas ranging from increasing production capacity to aviation cooperation.
Lin Songtian is the Director General of the Foreign Ministry’s Department of African Affairs. He informed the media that the ongoing deal between the two countries is “a big one” without explaining in full.
“This is an important visit in the history of China-Africa relations,” he said.
Mr. Lin also confirmed that the two foreign ministers from China and Nigeria will hold a reception today April 13 in celebration of 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties. This is an arrangement so rare that no other country’s presidency has been treated to.
“Nigeria is seeking to enhance mutual economic cooperation with China through the visit tohelp accelerate Nigeria’s industrialization and agricultural modernization,” Mr. Lin added in his briefing.
“Nigeria has a large land area but is still seeking grain security and this will be a priority for cooperation between Beijing and Abuja.”
In President Buhari’s brief talk with the Xinhua News Agency before the visit, he noted that “China has the technical and financial capacity, the development experience and the goodwill to help Nigeria.”
“So, really, this is an opportunity Nigeria cannot afford to lose,” he confessed.
Among other agreements in plan, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Audu Ogbeh spoke on a possible bilateral production capacity and investment cooperation between China and Nigera. In his words: “Nigeria has a large amount of arable land. We expect China to bring agricultural machinery.”
In the same line, the Minister of Defense Mansur Dan Ali said the country is well prepared and will continue to fight terrorism in both short and long-term measures to ensure the security of all foreign and local companies in Nigeria.
Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Long Live People’s Republic of China!