Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sen. Shehu Sani, has dismissed reports that China’s new relationship with Africa is meant to colonise the continent.
Sani’s remark was apparently in reaction to recent criticisms that Chinese loans to Africa were meant to indirectly colonise the African continent.
Sani made his position known, in Abuja, during a roundtable dialogue on the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) organised by the Centre for China Studies, in Abuja.
The senator said the relationship between China and Africa is an age-long relationship, noting that new emphasis have been on the recent relationship between China and Africa in terms of economic cooperation.
Sen. Sani added that it is important to note that the People’s Republic of China had been with Africa as long as it has existed as a continent.
He said in Africa, China played very significant roles in the liberation struggles for the decolonisation of the continent.
He added that China supported liberation movement and also trained liberation fighters dating back to over five decades ago.
Sen. Sani declared that China could be said to be one of the longest and reliable friend of Africa, one that had been with Africa even at the very time the continent was fighting for independence.
“What we emphasise nowadays is the economic cooperation. We shouldn’t forget that China wasn’t here just some five, ten years ago. They have been with us even when others were colonizing us and oppressing us.
“So, it is important for us to bring out that relationship because most times, the new relationship that exists between China and Africa is interpreted in different forms.
“Some see it as a new attempt to colonise Africa by China. But many have forgotten what China did to us and how they were with us in those times,” Sani said.
The senator further said tracks of railway lines constructed by China in the early 60s are still visible in Africa, including the training of most of Africa continent’s soldiers and policemen and those who were within the rank and file of the continent’s party cadres in the early 60s.
He said China is worth emulating in terms of how it moved from a third world nation to the second biggest and largest economy on earth.
“That should be an inspiration to African nations to look up to themselves for their political liberation and also economic problems,” Sani added.
On his part, the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Nigeria, Mr. Lin Jing, said the cooperation between China and Africa is mutually beneficial.
Lin recalled Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech during the FOCAC summit, in Beijing, saying that the speech further enriched and deepened China’s traditional diplomatic policy based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.