Centre for China Studies asks FG to key into Belt and Road Initiative opportunities

Reclaiming Lake Chad: Centre for China Studies asks FG to key into Belt and Road Initiative opportunities

From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The Centre for China Studies has asked the Federal Government to avail itself of the opportunities available in the Chinese Government’s Belt and Road Initiative in order to ensure the reclaiming of Lake Chad.

The Director, Centre for China Studies, Mr Charles Onunaiju, made the call in Abuja at a one-day roundtable organised by the centre.

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The event which was organised with the cooperation of the Embassy of China in Nigeria had as its theme: “Global Security Initiative and the implications for Overcoming Security Challenges in the Sahel and Nigeria.”

The roundtable examined ways and means of how Nigeria can maximally engage the outcomes of the just-concluded Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022.

Onunaiju said there is an existing international framework that could support Nigeria’s effort to reclaim Lake Chad, which is the Belt and Road International Framework of Cooperation.

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Onunaiju explained that the framework comprised of cooperation across maritime, overland, cyberspace and even air connectivity and air links.

“And I think that the Lake Chad falls into the area of maritime cooperation and we can engage the Belt and Road Initiative and the enormous liquidity it has to address the challenge of Lake Chad,” Onunaiju said.

While noting the availability of a whole range of Belt and Road projects already existent in the country, particularly overland projects such as railway and power plants, Onunaiju said “these are all part of the Belt and Road.”

He recalled the earlier remarks by an official of the Embassy of China during the roundtable that within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese financial institutions are bringing a lot of funds to the table to support the issues.

“I think we can leverage our engagement, we can leverage our goodwill and cooperation with China and put the Lake Chad issue. Not only is it a security issue, it is also a human security issue; it is a livelihood issue.

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“So, within the broad context of our engagement with China, spanning cooperation in poverty alleviation, infrastructure, construction, security, we can put the Lake Chad issue on the table and I am sure we can get a good listening,” Onunaiju also said.

Earlier, the Head of the Political Section, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Nigeria, Mr Du Sheng, in his remarks, explained how to address the six core concepts of President Xi Jinping’s Global Security Initiative.

Du also said that Nigeria and China can cooperate in the area of security both at the bilateral and multilateral levels.

He stated that both countries can share technology, adding that technology is fundamental to the improvement of security.

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