The Chinese Navy Escort Task Group 162, comprising MSL Destroyer NANNING, MSL Frigate SANYA, and Supply Ship WEISHANHU, on Sunday, visited Nigeria to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Joseph Akpan, explained that the visitation of the Chinese naval ships signalled a collaboration between the Nigerian and Chinese navies, particularly to curb insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that MSL Destroyer NANNING made the port call at the Nigerian Ports Authority Berth 21, while the other two ships remained at anchorage.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Chi Chun, said the delegation from China was big with more than 700 people and three ships to Nigeria.
“The visit is to deepen the relationship between the two countries and also seek improved cooperation with each other.
“This visit demonstrates the harmony and symphony between Nigeria and China,” he said.
The envoy said China and Nigeria would continue to work together and promote peace and harmony.
“I believe that this visit will deepen the cooperation between both countries’ military sectors so that we can work together to overcome obstacles.
“We will continue to do more things to facilitate and promote the relationship between the two countries,” Chun said.
In his own remarks, Akpan said: “This is an alliance between the Nigerian Navy and the Chinese Navy as well as the military. This will help us fight crimes, especially in the Gulf of Guinea.
“During their period of stay, our men will be interacting, we will be having some sporting activities, exchange of mementoes and gifts.
“We will also discuss the future of both navies, especially on how we can benefit from each other.”
The FOC added that the term called ‘sea riders’ enabled some of the Nigerian Navy personnel onboard the Chinese ship and they could also have some of their own men onboard Nigerian ships.
“This helps to foster friendship across the horizon,” Akpan added.
NAN reports that the Chinese people resident in Lagos came out in their numbers to welcome the Chinese envoy at the NPA.
There was also a rich display of the culture of the Chinese people which could be seen in the colourful display of their synchronized dance routine at the port.