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Nigeria to deepen diplomatic ties with China

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Amb. Baba Ahmad Jidda, Ambassador of Nigeria to China, has reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to deepening cooperation with China.

Jidda said this in an interview with our reporter on Monday in Beijing, on the sideline of the 2022 International Food Fair ceremony organised by Commonwealth Society of Beijing (CSB) held at the embassy.

Jidda said friendship between Nigeria and China had been win-win.

He added that it had been 66 years since China- Africa officially opened diplomatic cooperation in 1956.

Jidda said: “Nigeria and China have been having diplomatic relations for 51 years now and we have signed numerous bilateral agreements between Nigeria and China.

“Nigeria is a very close friend of China and we have an agreement on the one-China policy and our country, we have agreement in the exchange of education, we have agreement relating to trade and commerce.

“We have an agreement in bilateral air-services; it is an agreement we signed very recently, which enabled Air Peace airline to fly directly from Lagos to China.

“We also have agreements in facilitating visas for officials and citizens, for instance all Nigeria diplomats do not require a Visa to come to China.

“Just as Nigeria government officials holding government official passports do not require a Visa to come to China; likewise we allow Chinese to go to Nigeria and obtain a Visa on arrival.”

Jidda said that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the embassy to issue Visa to Chinese wanting to go to Nigeria for investment within 48-hours.

He further said that both countries had shared similarities and also established numerous agreements, adding that such brought about progress in their diplomatic relations.

Jidda said in spite of difficulty for students to come to China, measures had been taken by the Chinese Government to relax restrictions against coming to the country.

“We are also very strong members of FOCAC and under that forum we do get support for our Infrastructure development.

“We have about 2,000 Nigerian students in China, unlike other countries battling with students coming back to China to complete their studies, because of their exit during inception of COVID-19.

“I personally pleaded with the students from the onset of COVID-19 not to go anywhere, but to stay in China with the full hope that China will do something tangible to contain the pandemic.

“I have been vindicated; in Wuhan alone we have 65 of our students never left and most of them in University also stayed put and now pursue education peacefully with lots of progress on their own.

“As far as students of Nigeria are concerned, they are comfortable and enjoying their studies and we believe they will conclude their studies, go back home and transfer education technology to our country,” he said.

Jidda prayed that special consideration be given to students in Nigeria, as many other countries of the world, to enable students to benefit more from the relaxation policy.

He said although the embassy celebrated Nigeria’s independence on Oct. 1, 2021 in spite of COVID-19 outbreak, more would be done to celebrate the nation’s independence this year.

“I am still optimistic that something tangible will still be done by the embassy of Nigeria to celebrate Nigerian independence on Oct. 1, which is also Independence day of China and coincidentally, my birthday.

“So, it is a day that is very dear to me as a Nigerian and as a diplomat serving in China; however, one way or the other it will be celebrated,” the envoy assured.

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