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"China, A Genuine Friend Of Nigeria" – Atiku

Nigeria's former vice president, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, has called on African countries - and Nigeria in particular - to get more involved with China in the areas of economic and political participations, saying that China has indeed become an indisputable friend.

Atiku made this statement yesterday in Abuja at the formal presentation of a book titled "China -Africa: Issues, Challenges and Possibilities" written by a journalist, Mr. Charles Onunaiju.

He said that gone were those days that African countries used to be warned to be wary of China but today, many analysts now sound more cooperative and even urge more engagement and co-operation with China.

The former VP said in a little over 30 years, China has risen to become an economic power house and the 'Workshop of the world', a term he said was once used to describe England.

Atiku, who noted that China has become a major creditor to the world called on Nigeria to take opportunity in China's rise, and in doing so should respect the country, its people and sovereignty while the same gesture should also be accorded Nigeria.

Ambassador of People's Republic of China, Dr Deng Boqin in his key note address said that the launch of the book was a perfect gift to China because it was coming on the heels of the celebration of the 42nd anniversary of the China- Nigeria diplomatic relations which comes up on February 2, 2013.

Boqin commended the efforts of Author of the book, Mr Onunaiju for putting together such an intellectual peace, adding that the book will further strengthen the relationship between both countries.

"This book will provide readers with some historical disclosure and also for those seeking to understand the relationship between China and Nigeria", Boqin said.

The ambassador said that the cooperation between both countries has reached a fruitful level, citing the recent commissioning and handing over of a Chinese –Nigeria hospital in Abuja. Last year about 355 Nigerians were sent to China on various trainings and seminars, he said.