Forty-Eight potential first class students of Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, on Tuesday got a scholarship from the People’s Republic of China.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the scholarship was tagged: “Oct. 1st Scholarship for China-Nigeria Friendship’’.
Presenting the scholarships at the ABU Main Campus, Samaru, Zaria, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Dr Zhou Pingjiang, described ABU as one of the best universities in Nigeria.
Zhou, who was represented by the Deputy Ambassador, Zhao Yong, said the Embassy of China had long time cooperation with ABU.
He said: “This is the second time the Chinese Embassy would award scholarships to excellent students of ABU.
“As you know, with China-Nigeria strategic partnership increasingly enhanced, the Chinese Ambassador, Dr Zhou Pingjiang initiated October 1st for China-Nigeria friendship to reward excellent students in a few chosen universities, and ABU is of course one of them,” he said.
On why the scholarship was called Oct. 1st, Yong said China’s National Day and Nigeria’s Independence Day were being celebrated on the same day.
While describing Nigeria as the largest economy and most populous country in Africa, the ambassador said China remained the largest developing country in the world.
“Since the enlistment of diplomatic ties in 1971 and strategic partnership in 2005 between China and Nigeria, the friendship and cooperation between both countries have delivered tangible benefits to the two nations.
“In terms of investment, the accumulated China non-financial investment in Nigeria approaches 2.8 billion dollars, contributing significantly to local economy and job creation.
“In terms of trade, the bilateral trade volume between the two countries soared to 15.3 billion dollars in 2018, 108% higher than the previous year,” the ambassador said.
He noted with satisfaction that the Abuja-Kaduna Railway, the Abuja Light Railway, the terminal buildings in Abuja and Port Harcourt and other places had been running smoothly.
According to him, Nigeria is now China’s largest engineering contracted projects market, the second largest export market, the third largest trading partner and major investment destination in Africa.
He added that apart from scholarship award, the commissioning of a new language laboratory at ABU also showed the positive enhancement of China-Nigeria relationship.
Responding, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, Vice-Chancellor, ABU, said the support the university was getting from the Peoples Republic of China was immeasurable.
“Only last year, the Ambassador came here and delivered to us 10.1 scholarships for 47 students, you know our relationship with China is being coded in numbers, 10.1 means Oct. 1st.
“That is China’s National Day and Nigeria’s Independence Day; so, in commemoration of that, they give scholarships and over the years, we have seen how remarkable this relationship has grown,” Garba said.
The V-C appreciated the Ambassador for providing a teacher in ABU to teach Chinese language, adding that the teacher was happily performing his function effectively and efficiently.
Earlier, the Director in the Directorate of University Advancement, ABU, Prof. Adamu Ahmed, described the event as a confirmation of the warm relationship between the university and the Chinese government.
Mr Ahmed said the award of scholarships was a gesture that had motivated and culminated into producing five students with 5.0 today.