By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his administration was ready to provide counterpart funding on all agreements reached with China for the provision of infrastructure that directly improves the livelihood of Nigerians.
According to a statement made available to newsmen by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhari gave the assurance while receiving Yang Jiechi, Special Envoy of the President of China, Xi Jinping, at State House yesterday.
Buhari expressed deep appreciation for China’s sustained and genuine efforts to improve Nigeria’s infrastructure development, especially in the sectors of road, railway, aviation, as well as power and water resources.
‘‘Now that we have a government in place (with the Ministers), we know the provision of infrastructure is very important. It (Infrastructure) provides job opportunities and economic sustainability which are very important for political stability,’’ the President said.
President Buhari also underlined Nigeria and China’s cooperation at the international arena, saying: ‘‘At the international level, we appreciate the support we give to each other and very importantly this must be sustained.’’
‘‘Nigeria is determined to play its role wherever China’s interest is concerned,’’ the President said while appreciating China’s support for Nigeria’s presidency of the 74th UN General Assembly.
On Lake Chad, the President emphasised the need for sustained support from China on the recharging of The Lake, noting that Nigeria and countries in the region have a lot to benefit from Chinese expertise and technology on inter-basin water transfer.
‘‘China has the technology, the people and the resources to help Lake Chad Basin countries because not many people in the region appreciate our problem of being near the Sahara desert and its influence on our population and climate change, which is affecting over 20 million people living there,’’ he said.
The President also welcomed the offer by the Special Envoy for close partnership between Nigeria’s governing party, the All Progressives Congress and the Communist Party of China.
Delivering the message of President Xi, the Special envoy, who led a high-powered Chinese delegation to the meeting, assured President Buhari of China’s readiness to improve strategic partnership with Nigeria and effectively implement the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit in 2018.
‘‘China firmly supports Nigeria in pursuing a development path that supports Nigeria’s national conditions. We have every confidence that under Your Excellency’s able leadership, Nigeria will achieve even greater success in its national development.
‘‘During Your Excellency’s trip to China for the FOCAC Beijing Summit, we had bilateral meetings and reached important agreements on our bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest.
‘‘I highly value China’s ties with Nigeria and stand ready to work with Your Excellency to enhance our political trust, jointly pursue Belt and Road Cooperation, effectively implement the outcomes of FOCAC and strengthen our coordination in regional and international affairs so as to further enrich the strategic partnership between both countries,’’ President Xi said.
The Chinese leader once again congratulated President Buhari on his re-election.
With President Buhari at the meeting were Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Power, Transport, Aviation, Industry, Trade and Investment and Foreign Affairs.
The meeting discussed the status and implementation of several on-going projects being undertaken by Chinese firms in the country including railways, free trade zones, Mambilla Hydro-Power plant and four airport terminals, among others.