China has vowed to help Nigeria
find more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by
Islamist militants, President Goodluck Jonathan
said on Wednesday after meeting visiting Premier
“China promised to assist Nigeria in our fight
against terror, especially in our commitment and
effort to rescue the girls that were taken away from
a secondary school,” he said following talks in the
Li for his part noted only that greater cooperation
between the two nations could also include efforts
to “oppose and fight terrorism” but did not give
Nigeria has been in the grip of a raging insurgency
in the north since 2009 but international attention
has been grabbed by the abduction of 276
schoolgirls from a remote northeastern town three
Several countries, including the United States,
Britain and France, have offered to assist in the
hunt for the missing girls.
The response of Jonathan’s government has been
criticised as weak and ineffective while Boko
Haram’s claim of responsibility — and threat to sell
the 223 girls still being held as slave brides — has
stoked global anger.
– Closer ties –
Both leaders’ comments came following a closed-
door meeting at the State House in Abuja. Li also
inspected a ceremonial honour guard and received
a 19-gun salute.
The Chinese premier is on a four-country tour of
Africa — his first since taking office last year —
with the world’s second-biggest economy keen to
boost its presence on the continent to find new
markets and opportunities.
On Thursday, he was set to address the World
Economic Forum on Africa in Abuja, which the
government had hoped would showcase Nigeria’s
potential as a place to do business but has been
overshadowed by security concerns.
Two car bombs that exploded in the same Abuja
suburb have heightened fears about safety while
the mass kidnap has sparked noisy street protests
across Nigeria and around the world.
Li said the aim of his visit was to deepen ties and
cooperation with Africa’s biggest economy and
leading oil producer, which has been seen as a
potential future economic powerhouse and
destination for overseas investors.
“Nigeria is one of China’s biggest trading partners
in Africa. Last year, trade between our two
countries reached about $13.6 billion,” he said
through an interpreter.
“We hope to see not just more trade with China
but also stronger cooperation between the two
countries in the development of infrastructure in
Nigeria and we wish the Nigerian people even
higher living standards and also greater
achievement in terms of health and social
Li’s comments touched on a key issue of
inequality in Nigeria where the growing numbers of
dollar millionaires and billionaires live alongside a
majority of the population that is still mired in
Despite churning out some two million barrels of
crude oil a day, the country struggles to produce
enough electricity to keep the lights on and scores
low on developmental indicators in areas such as
health and education.
Chinese firms are already involved in road and rail
projects, including a monorail scheme in the
financial capital, Lagos. Li promised more
investment and technical expertise.
“The Chinese government will honour its words,”
he told Jonathan.
Nigeria’s foreign ministry has said that six major
agreements would be signed during Li’s visit,
including economic and technical cooperation,
aviation, banking and health projects to combat
Li flew to Nigeria from Ethiopia and is also
scheduled to visit Angola and Kenya.
China has vowed to help Nigeria