Nigeria - In order to strengthen its bilateral ties with Nigeria and bolster maritime security in West Africa, a Chinese Navy Escort Task Group (ETG) 162, comprising the MSL Destroyer NANNING, MSL Frigate SANYA, and Supply Ship WEISHANHU, arrived in Lagos on Sunday.
While the Chinese warship MSL Destroyer NANNING docked at Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) Berth 21, the remaining two ships stayed at anchorage.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Chi Jian Chun, stated that the port call was a precursor to the upcoming visit of the Chinese envoy from July 2 to 6, 2023.
He emphasized that this visit, along with the presence of a large delegation from China, consisting of over 700 individuals and three ships, aimed to enhance maritime security in West Africa.
"The visit is to further deepen the relationship the two countries have with one another and also seek to strengthen and improve our relationship and cooperation with each other.
“This visit demonstrates the harmony and symphony between Nigeria and China", he stated.
According to the ambassador, China and Nigeria are committed to maintaining their collaboration and fostering peace and harmony, all while actively seeking avenues to make meaningful contributions to the global community.
He added, "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".
Rear Admiral Joseph Akpan, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) of the Western Naval Command, emphasized in his statement that the visitation would serve as a significant step towards strengthening the bond between the two nations.
"This is especially 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 momentous and gifts.
"We will also discuss the future of both navies, especially how we can benefit from each other".
At the NPA jetty in Lagos, a significant gathering of Chinese residents eagerly welcomed the Chinese envoy, demonstrating their enthusiasm and support.
Meanwhile, the crew members are set to commence a range of activities to commemorate their visit.