President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday night returned to Abuja after attending the Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing.
During the six-day visit to China, Buhari held bilateral talks and witnessed the signing of some agreements between Nigeria and China in the areas of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the economy.
He also participated in the High-Level Dialogue between Chinese and African leaders and business representatives.
At the FOCAC meeting, Buhari expressed the appreciation of ECOWAS member states for China’s increasing investment in the sub-region with the aim of building a prosperous and shared future.
He noted that China was the largest investor in the sub-region in both private and public sectors, covering areas, such as infrastructure development in energy, agriculture, mining and healthcare.
According to him, China also provides significant assistance in emergency humanitarian aid and response to climate change for Africa.
Buhari at the FOCAC Round Table on Tuesday, attended by African leaders and Chinese President Xi Jinping, said Nigeria’s partnership with China through FOCAC had resulted in the execution of vital infrastructure projects worth over five billion dollars.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, who was part of the president’s entourage to China, reported that
Buhari won the crucial support of Jinping, for Nigeria’s aspiration to build the 3050 Megawatts Mambilla hydro-power project.
He revealed that Nigeria and China also signed the agreement of 328 million dollars for the Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase II (NICTIB II) project.
The concessional loan agreement between Galaxy Backbone Limited and Huawei Technologies Limited (HUAWEI) was signed by Nigeria’s Minister of Finance Kemi Adesoun and Wang Xiaotoa, Director-General, International Development Agency of China.
The presidential aide disclosed that Nigeria and China also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR).
In Beijing, Buhari also received assurances from the Joint Venture Partners handling the 3050 Megawatts Mambilla Hydro-power Plant of which arrangements had reached advance stage for the commencement of work early in 2019.
Buhari received the assurance when he was briefed on time lines for the commencement of work at a meeting with Prof. Lyu Ze Xiang, the President of CGCC, the company handling the project.
The president, at separate meetings with prospective Chinese investors on the sidelines of FOCAC, assured existing and prospective Chinese investors of high-level support for their investment plans in Nigeria.
The president, at an interactive session with the Nigerian community in China on Saturday, had given assurance that as “a beneficiary of free and fair elections, I’m not afraid of a credible process in 2019.’’
To this effect, the president reaffirmed his commitment to making sure that the 2019 polls would be free, fair and credible.
Buhari pledged that Nigerians eligible to vote in the general elections would be allowed to freely elect candidates of their choices.