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Envoy says prioritising interests of citizens will help Nigeria attain China’s feat



Envoy says prioritising interests of citizens will help Nigeria attain China’s feat

Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Zhou Pingjian, says the African country can achieve the same feat as China if its government can prioritise the interests of its citizens and open itself up to the world.

Zhou expressed this thought on Wednesday in Abuja at a ceremony to honour outstanding Nigerian advocates of China-Nigeria relations.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the 48 recipients of the China Alumni Association of Nigeria were honoured for their contributions to strengthening China-Nigeria bilateral relations in different sectors.

Zhou said China was able to attain  greatness and success because the government considered the interests of its people first before any other thing.

He also attributed China’s successes to the strong leadership provided by its founding political party and its openness to the world.

The envoy urged Nigeria to emulate China.

According to him, at the founding of China in 1949, it could not produce anything significant, but 70 years after, it became a global force with every household across the world using “made in China” products.

Zhou, who said that sharing the same independence date with Nigeria was significant, urged the award recipients to continue their good works in different sectors in order to strengthen the bilateral relations between both countries.

“A lot of things have contributed to the achievements of China in the past 70 years and another one is, we have friends like Nigeria and the world and China pursues an opened policy.

“Putting people first, strong leadership of the political party, and openness to the world have helped us make great strides in the economic and social development in China.

“In 1950, the first year after the founding of the People’s Republic, the trade value between China and the world was only 1.13 billion U.S. dollars, but last year trade value hit 4.6 trillion U.S. dollars.

“In 1978, there was almost no Foreign Direct Investment in China and in 40 years, we attracted more than two trillion dollars in Foreign Direct Investment.

“In 1949, there were no Nigerian students in China but today, there are more than 7,000 students pursuing higher learning in China.

“We are opened to the world and that is a key element to understand why China can achieve something in 70 years.

“Mutual understanding and friendship between two countries is the foundation of a successful bilateral relation,” Zhou said.

The Chinese envoy further called on the award recipients to continue to promote relations between both countries which he described as very strategic and important.

He added that as one of the largest economies in the world, China valued its relationship with Nigeria, which he described as the largest developing country in Africa.

Also speaking, Hon. Buba Yakub, Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs lauded Nigeria-China cordial relations which he said was evident in so many laudable developments in Nigeria.

Congratulating the award recepients, Yakub urged them to take up the challenge to evolve strategies that would take the bilateral relations to a higher level.

“As the year 2019 marks the 48th year of uninterrupted diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, both countries have thus far enjoyed a cordial relationship.

“As evidence of the deepening economic and socio-cultural integration today, China-Nigeria relations are regarded as a pace-setter for not only Africa, but within the global economic community.

“The history of this relation has become a reference point to so many countries especially in the areas of Trade and Investment.

“The highlight of the recent decade involving Nigeria-China relations is the massive inflow of Foreign investment to address critical infrastructural gaps in Nigeria.

“Nigeria is poised to be the next viable destination for China’s Foreign investments in view of its economic potentials.

“This significant feet have been realized by determined efforts of both countries and also the advocates of China Nigeria relations of which we are here to celebrate today,” Yakub said.

Speaking on behalf of the award recipients, Dr. Sheriff Ghali called on fellow awardees not the forget the reasons why they were honored and keep working to build the unity of both nations.

Ghali urged them to work towards changing the negative misunderstandings of other countries to the China-Africa-Nigeria relations which is perceived as imperialism.

He urged them not to relent in the already good works of strengthening bilateral ties which they already started.

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

Lizzie Agbaji: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]


Democracy Day: Envoy felicitates with United States based Nigerians, urges patriotism



The Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, has called on Nigerians in the Diaspora to remain patriotic and optimistic about their country’s future.

In a Democracy Day message to the Nigerian community in the United States, Okoyen reminded them of the country’s standing as an emerging global economic force.

He expressed pride in the “dynamism, resourcefulness, resilience” and outstanding engagement of Nigerians in the world, especially in the United States

The envoy underscored the need for them to actively engage in the democratic process back home to “sustain the continued growth and development of our dear nation”.

“I warmly felicitate with the Nigerian community in the United States as we mark 21 years of uninterrupted civilian administration in our fatherland.

“We equally pay tribute to the founding fathers of democratic governance in Nigeria.

“As good ambassadors of our fatherland, our optimism about Nigeria’s future must always remain steadfast, unshaken and patriotic,” he said.

According to him, we must be mindful of the fact that our role in the world as an emerging economic force is without a doubt.

“While Nigeria is blessed with abundant natural resources, productive population, and other indices of a major economic power on the world stage, our greatest strength lies in the human resources.

“We are proud of Nigerians dynamism, resourcefulness, resilience, and engagement in the world, particularly, in the U.S,” he said.

Okoyen acknowledged the immense contributions of Nigerians in the Diaspora to the nation’s success stories in economic and infrastructural development.

According to international audit firm, Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC), Nigerians in the Diaspora are the country’s biggest export, remitting close to 25 billion dollars (N7.6 trillion) in 2018.

The envoy said it was in recognition of this and more that the Federal Government established the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to harness “this important resource”.

“However, your successes have further placed a huge responsibility on you, to deploy your renowned expertise for the development of your home country,” he added.

The consulate, he pledged, would continue to explore ways to optimally utilise the expertise of Nigerians within its jurisdiction for national development.

While commiserating with Nigerians who lost loved ones to the COVID-19 pandemic, Okoyen thanked medical and other essential workers in the frontline of the battle against the pandemic back home.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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British Envoy calls for celebration of caregivers in Nigeria



Mrs Harriet Thompson, British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, has called on Nigerians to give more respect and recognition to both formal and informal caregivers in the country.

Thompson made the appeal on Thursday during a Webinar an online programme with theme: “Carers Week 2020”, organised by the British Deputy High Commission’s Office in Lagos.

She said that objective of the webinar was to mark “Carers Week”, being celebrated in UK every year, particularly now when the world was struggling with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year we want to mark it in Nigeria as well, in order to recall the important role professional health workers and informal carers play in supporting the society through this really difficult times,” Thompson said.

According to the Envoy, being a carer is not widely recognised in Nigeria as an official responsibility.

She noted that it was mostly attributed to the African family structure, where family members were obligated to cater for their old, disabled or mentally challenged family members or relatives.

According to Thompson, this explains why Nigeria does not have a lot of care homes.

“It is important to celebrate all those who have taken up these extra responsibilities as a result of COVID-19.

“It is essential that we encourage informal carers during this COVID-19 pandemic to continue to ensure that older family members and those with underlying health conditions are protected from exposure to the virus.

“Also, doctors, nurses and other aspects of the health industry in Nigeria who have worked tirelessly since the outbreak of the Coronavirus should be appreciated.

“We urge Nigerian Government to adopt this initiative and create a special day to celebrate carers in the country,” she said.

On the role of informal and formal carers in Nigeria, Dr Chinwe Ochu, Deputy Director, Research, Training and Knowledge Management of NCDC, said that the outbreak had made it a very challenging period for carers and the country as a whole.

According to Ochu, in most cases informal caregivers are now first responders as most patients would have been staying at home before getting tested for the virus.

“They are responsible for helping family members who are infected to self isolate and also provide necessary care for them at distance as the virus is transmissible,” Ochu said.

She said for formal carers, the pandemic had also been a huge learning process for them, noting that most times the number of cases were more than they could handle.

Ochu noted that another challenge faced was the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the workers to wear while attending to patients.

The deputy director said that a lot of health workers had also contracted the virus, while treating patients.

She said that more priority should be given in terms of safety for formal and informal carers.

The Chief Medical Director, Lagos State Teaching Hospital, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, said that this period had been a challenging time for most health workers.

“It has been a very tough time for health workers, because we need resources to work and most times there are still complaints on inadequate Personal Protective Equipment.

“The nurses, who are formal carers, are also scared to go too close to patients for the fear of getting infected.

“As we speak, a lot of our health workers have been infected by the virus in spite of the fact that we take universal precautions and wear Personal protective equipment,” Fabamwo said.

Also, Dr Josephine Okechukwu, Director, Public Health Department, Federal Capital Territory, said that a lot had been done in Abuja in terms of tackling COVID-19 pandemic.

“Currently, we are faced with some challenges, but the response to COVID-19 has been very good, FCT has the highest testing rates,” Okechukwu said.

Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Gov. Diri committed to socio-economic devt of Bayelsa – UN Peace Envoy



Bribena who spoke on Diri’s leadership style on the sidelines of his 61st birthday anniversary, called on the people of the state to be patient and as well support his laudable programmes.

He said that one of the programmes of the Diri’s administration was to diversify the economy of the state from oil and gas to agriculture.

He said the state would leverage on the enormous fertile arable land as well as the rich biodiversity of its water resources.

Bribena, a Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), explained that the state’s policy of economic diversification would boost the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

He added that it would make the state less dependent on Federal Government allocation.

He described the governor as an astute politician whose steadfastness, maturity, understanding and peace-loving nature had endeared him to the hearts of the people of the people.

Bribena expressed delight over the governor’s extreme simplicity as well as his charismatic personality.

Bribena acknowledged Diri’s contributions to the socio- economic development of Bayelsa in his over 100 days in office.

He prayed God to grant the governor long life and sound health to pilot the affairs of the state and improve the standard of living of Bayelsa people.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)


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COVID-19: UK will continue to assist PEBEC in Nigeria — Envoy



Mrs Harriet Thompson, British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria, says the UK government will continue to provide technical assistance to the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in Nigeria.

The British envoy said this during a Webinar organised by the Nigerian-British Chambers of Commerce.

The theme of the Webinar was:  ‘Nigerian- British Bilateral Relationship Post COVID-19.”

She noted that UK was excited to see a set of very strong commitment from the Nigerian government through its letter of intent to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

She said the letter of intent revolved round removing fuel subsidy, taxing Forex regime and the power sector.

“The implementation of these reforms will help mitigate the impact of Coronavirus on the economy and enable a recovery that provides diversified and sustainable economy that is good for both British and Nigerian businesses.

“At this moment, the UK is highly active in supporting Nigeria to see through the reforms and that is why we will continue to provide  technical assistance  to PEBEC and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) and other key sectors in Nigeria.

“We have rolled out various programmes that support infrastructure, agriculture, market scale and the technology sector,” she said.

Talking on technology, Thompson said that it was a big focus of the Africa Investment Summit and hugely important in Nigeria where the sector was three times faster than the rest of the economy.

She, however, noted that  the growth of the sector had been slowed down due to  the Coronavirus pandemic.

“The fact is that we need technology now more than ever,  during this period and that is why we have rolled out programmes in the tech sector in spite of the current circumstances.

“We are trying to understand how we can support innovation and local production on TV that we need to fight Coronavirus.

“Also, we want to assist the technology sector in Nigeria to understand how we can support digital health care and those Nigerian companies in that sphere to do more,” she said.

Speaking on how Coronavirus had changed the economic outlook, Thompson said it had affected prospects for British businesses as well as the ones in Nigeria and any other.

She said to address the issues, they had been having quarterly meetings with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo and top executives of the biggest British companies here in Nigeria.

Thompson said the essence of the meeting was to give them an opportunity of some of the key issues that were affecting them and to hear the ministers views on how they could be addressed.

“The meeting gives an insight into  the  constraints of  government  and the way they can begin to work together to come up with solutions,” she said.

Also speaking, Mr Bimbo Olashore, Vice President, Nigerian-British Chambers of Commerce (NBCC), said that for the Nigerian environment in particular, COVID-19 had brought about challenges in the areas of infrastructure and  businesses, among others.

Olashore, however, said that a number of the challenges were being addressed, noting that Nigeria was already moving in the right direction in the scale of doing business.

“Clearly there are one or two things that have made the cost of doing business easier, this includes the harmonisation of the exchange rate, also some investment have been going on that has  made the business environment more competitive over the past few months.

“Also, we have been talking about budgetary allocation to the health sector and now COVID-19 has made it expedient for us to do more,” Olashore said.

He, however, said that more work needed to be done in the area of the cost of governance, noting that the government had been doing its best in that regard.

Olashore said that Nigeria needed to keep investing in infrastructure and also ensure that the cost of governance came down.

“We need to ensure that the Nigerian environment becomes more competitive and also build on the reforms that we have started.

“Nigeria also needs to seriously look into diversification,” Olashore said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)








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