The People’s Republic of China has pledged to allocate 85 percent of the necessary funding to complete the Abuja-Kano and Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects. This commitment was made by President Xi Jinping during the Belt and Road Initiative Forum in Beijing, in response to a request conveyed by Vice President Kasim Shettima on behalf of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as relayed by presidential spokesperson Stanley Nwocha.
This development follows a prior setback in the railway projects, which were initiated in 2021 but experienced a funding withdrawal from China. However, after a bilateral meeting, President Jinping reaffirmed China’s dedication to supporting the railway initiatives. He assured that China would not only provide financial backing but also enhance political support and collaboration across various sectors. President Jinping also expressed gratitude for Nigeria’s adherence to the One-China Policy.
In terms of security, President Jinping pledged to continue efforts to combat terrorism, emphasizing China’s commitment to peace in the Sahel region. He highlighted the importance of their long-standing military training and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) regarding joint exercises.
Vice President Shettima, representing President Tinubu, emphasized the significance of the railway projects to Nigeria, describing them as a legacy initiative that would promote economic growth, job creation, and trade and investment opportunities across the country. Shettima reiterated President Tinubu’s dedication to a strong and respectful relationship between Nigeria and China, one marked by mutual cooperation and a lack of political interference.
“Our bilateral relationship began nearly 50 years ago, in 1971, and has since evolved into a comprehensive partnership. We respectfully request Your Excellency’s support in elevating our relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership due to its paramount importance to both nations,” Shettima stated.