Chinese President Xi Jinping has said his country would use the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Nigeria to promote strategic partnership to new heights.
This is contained in a statement issued by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in Abuja yesterday.
‘‘Nigeria is an important strategic partner of China in Africa. China-Nigeria cooperation has been the pacesetter of China-Africa cooperation,’’ President Xi wrote in a letter to the Nigerian leader, appreciating his congratulatory letter on the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which came up October 1.
The Chinese leader said he attached great importance to the development of China-Nigeria relations, and assured President Buhari that his country would spare no effort in strengthening existing relations.
In another development, the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria yesterday awarded 50 Nigerians its newly launched October-1st awards of China-Nigeria friendship in recognition of their contributions to advancing Nigeria-China relationship.
The awards were bestowed on school teachers, journalists, government officials, among others, is part of efforts to encourage young Nigerians to contribute to fostering the tenets of the friendship between both countries.
Top on the list of award recipients are the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs Ifeoma Anyanwutaku; Chairman, FCT Secondary Educational Board (SUBEB), Dr Yahaya Mohammed, and the Head of Liaison and Protocol at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Lawal Sale.
Speaking at the award ceremony, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Cui Jianchun, said 2021 marked the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between Nigeria and China.
He said the choice of 50 recipients as well as the title of the awards, was inspired in view of the five-decades-long relationship as well as the celebration of independence by both countries on October 1.
“Over the past 50 years, political mutual trust between China and Nigeria has been greatly enhanced, and traditional friendship significantly improved.
“Substantial progress in our win-win cooperation has been made, commercial, cultural and educational exchanges have been further promoted.
“We are very delighted to see that we have made tremendous achievements in all fields which have greatly benefited our two peoples,” he said.
The envoy said that the awards served as part of the gains to be enjoyed by recipients for their painstaking efforts and works.
He added that while tasting the sweet fruits of the mutually-beneficial cooperation, those who worked to make it a success should not be forgotten.
“For this reason, the Chinese Embassy specially set up “The Oct. 1st Award of China-Nigeria Friendship” to recognize those outstanding Nigerians for their excellent performances and contributions to strengthening diplomatic ties between both countries.
“After reading the list of 50 winners, I am so happy to see that some are senior Nigerian officials who have been playing very important roles and guaranteeing the China-Nigeria cooperative ship to sail safely.
He expressed confidence that going forward, Nigeria and China would draw more beautiful blueprint in the next 50 years.
On her part, the Permanemt Secretary in the Ministry of information, Mrs Adora Anyanwutaku, said that the ceremony is a clear indication that relations between both countries is on the upward swing.
Anyanwutaku said that the last 50 years have been years of mutual respect and reciprocal exchanges in socio-cultural, political and economic spheres.
She expressed delight at being one of the recipients of the awards, adding that the recognition would spur her to do more.
“This indeed is an award that I will forever so dearly cherish.
“However, I will, within the framework of the cultural cooperation agreement between our two countries, continue to advance the frontiers of the blossoming China-Nigeria friendship,” she said.
For the FCT SUBEB Chairman, Mr Yahaya, who is also a recipient, he thanked the Chinese Embassy for the award, pledging to continue to work harder to advance the relationship.
NAN reports that participants were treated to entertaining interludes, including musical performances, vocal rendition, drama, cultural dances among others. (NAN)