By Lizzy Okoji
Abuja, Sept. 29, 2020 Vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Prof. Abdurrasheed Na Allah has expressed gratitude to the People’s Republic of China for facilitating the setting up of the department of Railway Engineering in the institution.
Na Allah made this known on Tuesday in Abuja during the ceremony of the China-Nigeria friendship awards to 49 outstanding students of the institution in commemoration of the Oct. 1 Independence anniversary of China and Nigeria.
He said that it is great privilege for the University of Abuja to be the first institution in Nigeria and across West Africa to be receive such support from the Chinese government
Na Allah said also appreciated the genuine collaboration of the government of China to Nigeria’s infrastructure and educational development without any self-interest or expectations.
The Vice-Chancellor said the government of China understands that the best way to strengthen the development and economy of any nation is through education hence, the reason they have made investment in Nigeria’s education system a priority.
“Today, it is the generosity of the People’s Republic of China that has led to this occasion.
“On behalf of the University I want to express our gratitude to the government of China and the people of China.
“The best way you strengthen a community is education, the best way you ensure future for the people is through education, the best way you ensure the eradication of poverty is education.
“The best way to make sure that communities have a strength to move forward is education, the best way you initiate development is through education, grass root development that is durable is education.
“I must say that very soon we shall be launching here on our campus a new academic programme that is going to be called B.Engineering degree in railway, railway engineering.
“The University of Abuja will be the first university in Nigeria to offer this programme and we are doing this because of the support of the President of China through the LUBAN workshop that is organized.
“And this University is the only University that is selected in Nigeria, in West Africa to have this programme.
“As I speak today we have received quite a number of equipment some are still at the Apapa port in Lagos that are coming with us.
“We are working with two institutions in China and these great institutions have been here several times, I have been travelling and some of our staff have gone for training.
“Many of them are back and recently we finished an online training so we are working together for the future of this country,” Na Allah said.
Na Allah said China is one of the countries that have supported Nigeria without exploitations compared to other countries who take away resources and return even more expensive finished products.
He said as the most populous nation in the world and ranking second in global development, China is an example for Nigeria as the most populous nation in Africa to follow.
The Vice Chancellor urged recipients of the award to continue to strive for more success and give back to the nation, make the Chinese government proud so that they would not be seen as wasted investments.
In his remarks, Zhao Yong, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of China in Nigeria said the government of the People’s republic of China takes education very seriously and will continue collaborations with the University of Abuja and other institutions.
Zhao said the Chinese Embassy in Abuja has also chosen to award 49 outstanding students of the University in commemoration of the 49th year of the China-Nigeria friendship and diplomatic relations.
He said that China will also continue to support Nigeria’s development in infrastructure, education and all other sectors.
Zhao said even in the break of the COVID-19 in China, the government ensured the protection of foreign students as much as it protected Chinese nationals.
“For Oct. 1, is our joint holiday, and the coming Oct 1st marks the 60th anniversary of the Independence of Nigeria, as well as the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
“After the outbreak, the Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety and well-being of foreign nationals, including foreign students.
“We care about the life and health of international students in China just as we care for our own children.
“Many universities launched online courses to provide diverse means of study for international students.
“79 Nigerian nationals including 50 students, were then in Wuhan. No one got infected,” Zhao said.
Naija247news reports that the students were selected based on performance, equality and gender, across all faculties with a student from each state of the country among the beneficiaries.
The Chinese Embassy presented the awards to the beneficiaries which was worth N100,000 each.
The Oct. 1 awards of Nigeria-China friendship started in 2018 and has been granted to 14 batches with 670 recipients so far and awarded to students for their diligence and advocating friendship between the two countries.