President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday arrived in Beijing, China, to participate in the 7th Summit of the Forum on China — Africa Cooperation.
The president’s Personal Assistant on New Media, Alhaji Bashir Ahmad, who is on the president’s entourage to China, confirmed this on his twitter handle on Saturday.
He posted: “President Muhammadu Buhari arrives in Beijing, the People’s Republic of China to participate in the 7th Summit of the Forum on China — Africa Cooperation.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Buhari left Abuja on Friday for the summit after receiving the German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
During the bilateral meeting between Nigeria and Germany, Buhari reiterated his administration’s position to always upholding the sanctity of the rule of law in governing the country, while assuring Merkel that all agreements would be fully respected.
The president maintained that unity and harmony in every society could only be preserved by observing the rule of law, ensuring her that agreements reached in good faith would be followed for mutual benefit of countries.
A statement earlier issued on August 30 in Abuja by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said that Buhari would participate in the summit scheduled to hold between September 3 and 4.
He said that before the formal opening of the summit, Buhari, in his capacity as the Chair of ECOWAS, would deliver remarks at the high-level dialogue among Chinese and African leaders, business representatives and African entrepreneurs.
He added that the Nigerian president was scheduled to join President Xi Jinping of China and other African leaders for the opening and roundtable sessions of the summit.
The theme of the summit is: “Towards an even Stronger China-Africa Community with a shared Future.’’
Shehu said that after the FOCAC Summit, Buhari would hold bilateral meetings with Jinping and Prime Minister, Li Keqiang, to discuss infrastructure financing for strategic projects in Nigeria.
He stated that their discussion would also cover the upgrading of Nigeria-China relations “from strategic partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership”.
Shehu added: “The president will also use the occasion of his audience with the Chinese leadership to assess the progress made so far in Chinese interventions in Nigeria’s key priority infrastructure projects, particularly ongoing projects in the railway and power sectors.
“It is noteworthy that since the last FOCAC VI Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, in December 2015, the current administration has pushed forward practical cooperation with China in the areas of infrastructure construction, trade, investments, finance, power, agriculture, education cooperation, among others.”
The statement said that Buhari would be accompanied to Beijing by his wife, Aisha, who was scheduled to participate in a spouses’ programme on China-Africa at the Great Hall of the People, with the theme: ‘‘Joining Hands for a Future of AIDS’’.
Also on the president’s entourage are Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar; Bauchi State, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode; Lagos State, Governor Mohammed Abubakar; Jigawa and Governor Rochas Okorocha; Imo.
Others are Senator Abdullahi Adamu, Senator George Akume, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Senator Aliyu Wamakko.
Minister of Foreign Affairs ,Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; and Minister of FCT Muhammad Bello were also in the entourage.
Similarly, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah; Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma; Minister of Water Resource, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu and Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, went for the summit.
The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar and the Group Managing Director Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr Maikanti Baru, will also attend.