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China To Refinance, Complete Abuja-Kano, Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri Railways – Shettima

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The People’s Republic of China has indicated its readiness to refinance and complete the Abuja-Kano, and Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects following a request by President Bola Tinubu.

China’s President, Xi Jinping disclosed this on Wednesday in Beijing while receiving Vice President Kashim Shettima who represented Tinubu in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing Third Belt and Road Forum.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communications, Stanley Nkwocha, recalling that since the launch of the projects, China has 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 the inception of the project through appropriations.

“The crucial infrastructure also termed a legacy project has the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation as the contractor named to execute the project,” he stated.

Shettima who delivered Tinubu’s well-wishes described the rail projects as 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.

He said President Tinubu remains committed to a stronger Nigeria – China tie, adding that it was laden with respect, non-political interference and mutual international cooperation.

“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,” Shettima was quoted as saying.

“When we met in South Africa at the China Plus 1 summit, I was very honest and upright with you. Beyond the infrastructural 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, and Mozambique, to the struggle for the emancipation of our people in Southern Africa; China stood shoulder to shoulder with the African continent, and we thus appreciate your friendship.”

In the area of security, President Jinping promised a continued crackdown on terrorists, assuring categorically that China is committed to peace in the Sahel region, more so that its long-standing military training and MoUs on joint exercises remain sacrosanct.

Responding, President Jinping said  China is committed to peace.

“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 uphold allies’ commitments,” he said.

“Mr Vice President, you spoke about upscaling and further upgrading of our strategic relationship, and I totally agree with you. Nigeria is developing with big potential. I totally agree with you. Our foreign Ambassadors can stay and work out this upgrading.”


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