The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the partnership between Nigeria and China in infrastructural development will solve domestic tourism in the African nation.
The minister spoke yesterday in Abuja when he hosted the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Zhou Pinson.
Mohammed said: “I think China is a good example of how domestic tourism can propel and trigger the economy. But for domestic tourism to prosper, of course, you also need improved infrastructure. This is why we are so glad that China is collaborating with Nigeria in the area of infrastructure, such as roads, power and railways.”
The minister expressed delight at the bilateral relations between Nigeria and China, which he described as mutual and sincere.
He said China remained one of Nigeria’s strategic partners because of its genuine commitment and passion towards the country.
Mohammed said the cultural ties between the two countries could be strengthened, especially in film and cinematography.
The minister reiterated his earlier request for the screening of Nigerian movies in China.
He said the screening of Nollywood movies in China would reciprocate Nigeria’s gesture towards Chinese movies, which are shown in Nigeria.
Mohammed said such gesture would be a deliberate strategy to ensure better understanding between the two countries while creating a market for Nigerian films in China.
The minister underscored the critical role which discipline played in the Chinese cultural revolution, saying Nigeria would key into it to further enrich its National Re-orientation Programme: Change Begins With Me.
He said: “One of the major strengths of China today is discipline, it’s ethics and respect for values. This is exactly what we are trying to achieve through our ‘Change Begins With Me’ Campaign.”
The Minister said even in the area of media and entertainment, China is closely linked with Nigeria through the partnership between the Nigerian Television Authority and Star Times, and acknowledged that China also offered a loan of $500 million to revamp and upgrade the broadcasting industry in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria said culture and people-to-people relations are part of the ten priority areas which China is exploring to foster relations with Nigeria.
He said China has opened discussion with the Minister towards the building of Nigerian China Cultural Centre in Nigeria to further promote the cultural ties, which will boost communication and understanding between the two countries.
“What we wish to do with Nigeria we have outlined in the four cardinal framework and we have the bilateral document with this esteemed ministry. So, cultural activities, personnel exchanges, skills training and capacity building we wish to have firm foundation in these fields and we wish we could do more in these fields with Nigeria,” he said.