On Wednesday, the Chinese government reaffirmed its commitment to refinancing and ensuring the completion of the Abuja-Kano and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects.
This commitment was made during a bilateral meeting in Beijing, where President Xi Jinping responded positively to requests presented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, representing President Bola Tinubu.
The development was announced in a statement by Stanley Nkwocha, the Vice President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, titled “At 3rd Belt and Road Initiative Forum: China commits to refinancing, completing the Abuja-Kano, Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri railways.”
Despite the project’s initiation, China has yet to disburse funds for the two significant railway initiatives in Nigeria, primarily due to fiscal constraints and prior commitments.
The agreement had designated China to provide 85 percent of the financing for the construction of the Abuja-Kano and Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects, with Nigeria being responsible for the remaining 15 percent, which it had consistently funded through appropriations.
During a meeting at the People’s Building in China, President Xi Jinping hosted a Nigerian delegation led by Vice President Shettima. He pledged to boost investment in Nigeria’s power generation and digital economy while also advocating for the safety of Chinese nationals working in Nigeria, reciprocating with a promise to strengthen bilateral relations between Nigeria and China.
Xi affirmed that China would extend its support across various fields and expressed gratitude for Nigeria’s endorsement of the one-China policy. Furthermore, he vowed to deepen practical collaboration and pledged support for President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Manifesto and his eight-point economic agenda.
China also committed to supporting Nigeria’s exports, particularly in sectors like peanuts, while emphasising the significance of the China-Africa talent initiative in its cooperation with Nigeria.
On the security front, President Xi assured continued efforts to combat terrorism, emphasising China’s dedication to peace in the Sahel region. He underscored the importance of their longstanding military training and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for joint exercises.
He said, “As President Bola Ahmed 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 President, you spoke about upscaling and further upgrading our strategic relationship, and I agree with you.
“Nigeria is developing with big potential. I agree with you. Our foreign ambassadors can stay and work out this upgrade.”.
Vice President Shettima, speaking on behalf of President Tinubu, stressed that the railway projects are vital for Nigeria. He said that Tinubu is dedicated to a strong and respectful partnership with China, focused on cooperation without political interference.