China announces visa exemption for Nigerian diplomats, officials
The Chinese government on Saturday announced visa exemption for Nigerian diplomats and senior government officials with effect from February 1.
The outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Deng Boqing, said this at the Nigeria-China Business Roundtable and Luncheon in Lagos, organised by the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.
Deng said the decision became imperative following an agreement recently reached by President Goodluck Jonathan and the Chinese President, Xi Jinping.
He added, 'We all know that visa issue is very important for the purpose of promoting our countries' relations. We have, therefore, decided to offer visa exemption for Nigerian diplomats and senior government officials in a first phase. In the future, we will also be working with the Nigerian government to simplify other citizens' visa application process.
'China is prepared to promote people-to-people interaction between the two countries.'
The Chinese ambassador advised Nigerian and Chinese business communities to be friendly in promoting business interaction between them.
He said Chinese investors' planned to increase their Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria in the New Year and beyond.
Deng said trade between both countries increased by 25 per cent in the last three years.
The envoy commended Nigerians for the encouragement and support he enjoyed during his tenure as ambassador.
The NIIA Director-General, Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, urged the Chinese government to also facilitate visa processes for Nigerian businessmen and women. NAN