The Peoples Republic of China has expressed commitment to refinancing and completing the Abuja-Kano and Port- Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects.
This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Stanley Nkwocha, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communications, Office of the Vice-President.
The statement, released on Wednesday in Abuja, quoted the President of China, Xi Jinping, making the pledge while responding to requests made by President Bola Tinubu during a bilateral meeting with the Chinese leader in Beijing.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Tinubu was represented by the Vice-President Kashim Shettima at the Belt and Road Initiative Forum (BRI) holding in China.
NAN recalled that since the launch of the projects, China was yet to release funds for the two major railway projects in Nigeria largely due to cutbacks and commitments.
China had agreed to provide 85 per cent financing for the construction of the Abuja-Kano and Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects.
Nigeria, which the duty of paying the balance of 15 per cent paid its part of the funding from inception of the project through appropriations.
The Chinese P
President who was visibly elated to receive the Nigerian delegation led by Shettima at the Peoples Building in China, pledged increased investmenta in Nigeria’s power generation and digital economy.
He called for the protection of Chinese nationals working in Nigeria, saying he would, in turn, ensure that the Nigeria-China bilateral relation was stronger than before.
Jinping also promised that China would enhance political support and build cooperations in all fields.
He appreciated Nigeria’s support of one China Policy and pledged to further deepen practical cooperations.
The Chinese leader threw his weight behind the Renewed Hope Manifesto of Tinubu and his 8-point economic agenda.
He added that China would support Nigeria’s exports, especially as they relate to peanuts and others, even as the China – Africa talent initiative remained key in its cooperation with Nigeria.
In the area of security, Jinping promised continued crackdown on terrorists, assuring that China was committed to peace in the Sahel region.
He added, “Like President Bola Tinubu stated recently at the last United Nations General Assembly, Africa does not need to run away.
” Africa holds the key to the World. We support Nigeria to play key roles in international relations and upholding allies’ commitments.
” Mr vice pesident, you spoke about upscaling and further upgrading of our strategic relationship, and I totally agree with you.
” Nigeria is developing with big potentials. I totally agree with you. Our foreign Ambassadors can stay and work out this upgrading.”
Earlier, Shettima, who delivered the well wishes of Tinubu described the rail projects as very vital to the president and the people of Nigeria
He said the projects remained a legacy ones that would further open up the nation’s economy, create jobs and boost trade and investments across the country.
The vice- president said Tinubu remained committed to a stronger Nigeria – China tie, adding that it was ladened with respect, non-political interference and mutual international cooperations.
He said, ” Our relationship commenced about 50 years ago, precisely in 1971 and it has been upgraded to a comprehensive partnership.
” But we crave your indulgence, Your Excellency, to further upgrade this relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership because of the importance we attach to our relationship with China.
” When we met in South Africa at the China Plus 1 summit, I was very honest and upright with you.
” Beyond the infrastructure support we are getting; why we love, cherish and respect China is that you treat us with respect and dignity. You don’t dictate to us who our friends are. We don’t forget our friends.
” China stood by us through thick and thin from the post-colonial struggles for independence in Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, the struggle for the emancipation of our people in Southern Africa; China stood shoulder to shoulder with the African continent, we thus appreciate your friendship.”
Jinping had before his audience with Shettima formally declared the forum, which had numerous Heads of States and top government officials open. (NAN)