By Lizzy Okoji
Abuja – The Chinese Embassy in Nigeria has honoured 49 Nigerian employees of Chinese companies operating in Nigeria for their outstanding performance and contributions to strengthening diplomatic ties between both countries.
Mr Zhao Yong, Charge D’ Affaires of the embassy, presented 100,000 naira cash awards to each of the 49 beneficiaries on Monday in Abuja.
Zhao said the award ceremony was organised to commemorate both countries’ independence anniversary on Oct. 1, and 49 years of friendship and bilateral relations.
He commended the employees whose contributions, he said, had led to Nigeria’s development, especially in the area of infrastructure.
According to him, China and Nigeria have a long history of great friendship and solidarity, both of which have grown tremendously over the years.
He said that such friendship and solidarity would continue to grow stronger.
Zhao said both countries also gave each other invaluable support at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
“The coming Oct. 1 marks the 60th anniversary of the Independence of Nigeria, as well as the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
“Celebrating Oct. 1st together constitutes a unique bond between China and Nigeria.
“I wish to take this opportunity to thank Nigerian employees in local Chinese companies for your contributions to the mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation.
“With joint efforts, tangible results have been made in many areas, especially in the area of infrastructure.
“Next February will mark the 50th anniversary of China-Nigeria diplomatic relations.
“Let us work together to uplift China-Nigeria relations to new heights for the benefits of two peoples and country,” Zhao said.
Zhao said that in response to COVID-19, China would continue to support Nigeria.
He recalled that China was the first country to offer assistance to Nigeria when COVID-19 broke out in the country.
The deputy Charge d’ Affaires said that during the period, the Chinese government donated two large batches of medical supplies to Nigeria as aid.
According tom him, the third batch, which has already arrived the country will be delivered soon.
Zhao said the local Chinese community was extending its helping hand with the donation of masks and medical gloves, among other supplies and equipment.
He said that statistics from the China General Chambers of Commerce revealed that the total value of materials and funds donated by the local Chinese private stakeholders to Nigeria amounted to N3 billion.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Miss Nininlola Fafore, Public Relations Director, Huawei Nigeria, lauded the Chinese government for its sustained support and development to different sectors in Nigeria.
Fafore said as a Chinese company, Huawei was able to use its telecommunication expertise to ensure work continuity in a virtual space even at the height of the pandemic.
“This is an opportunity and event to celebrate the National Day for China on their 71st year and also the 60th year for Nigeria.
“It is an important thing to understand how much we have come together with China.
“China has brought so much growth and development to different sectors in Nigeria, across several industries.
“Without your support I do not think we would have had such growth in ICT development that runs across other industries, this has been a great support.
“We thank God we have been able to contain the spread of COVID-19. Support for provision of mask.
“Huawei has done a lot working directly with the Federal Government by provision of protective wear and aiding the continuous work in the virtual space for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and staff.
“We have been able to provide the network devices and have been able to provide tele-presence devices to the Federal government and even the President was impressed at what we have done,” Fafore said.
Fafore added that aside contributing to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Huawei has produced more than 20,000 Engineers in Nigeria who have moved from vendors to operators and working abroad in extreme position.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Oct. 1 awards for China-Nigeria friendship began in 2018.
So far, it has been granted to 14 batches with a total of 670 recipients.
Students also receive such awards for their diligence and as a way of promoting friendship between both countries.