By Lizzy Okoji
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday called for stronger partnership with the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria in order to take advantage of opportunities that would be mutually beneficial to them.
Alhaji Ibrahim Mammaga, the Editor-in-Chief/Acting Managing Director of NAN made the call in Abuja during a courtesy visit to Amb. Zhou Pingjian, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria.
Mammaga, who led a team of management staff from the agency, said that strengthening the relationship with NAN, a Federal Government multimedia organisation would go a long way toward strengthening the existing bilateral relations between Nigeria and China.
He expressed appreciation to the Chinese embassy for the long-standing relationship and support to the agency, especially in the area of training opportunities for NAN staff.
Mammaga, however, appealed to the ambassador to avail the agency of more training and other opportunities for its staff, saying that China as a developed country “has a lot Nigerian journalists can gain from”.
“I want to thank you for the opportunity you have been giving to us because I know you have been giving us slots for training and workshops in China and that has offered us great opportunities in NAN.
“We have come here so that that cordial relationship will continue because China is one of the great countries of the world.
“And you have a lot of things that we in Nigeria, especially in the News Agency of Nigeria, have been enjoying through your support.
“And the only way to appreciate that is to come personally and say thank you for all you have been doing for us and, of course, ask for more.
“Training is very important and key to our operations as a foremost news agency in Africa. We have an already existing relationship with the China News Agency, Xinhua. It has also been working closely with us and we want the relationship to be a lot stronger.
“The Chinese government provides one form of support or the other to Nigerian journalists and media organisations in the country to help them strengthen their operations and capacity.
“And so we want more recognition to strengthen our cooperation to the benefit of the two countries of course,” Mammaga said.
Responding, Zhou expressed appreciation of the Chinese Embassy to NAN for the “great job the agency has done in terms of good reportage, which has opened the windows for China to know more about Nigeria”.
According to Zhou, the People’s Republic of China has cordial relations with Nigeria and the media play a key role in ensuring smooth and sustained relations between both countries.
The envoy said that the Chinese mission in Nigeria would do what it could to advance the interest of NAN in China and facilitate stronger relations with the Xinhua news agency in China.
“The cooperation between both countries is important because Nigeria is a major developing country in the world like China and we value our relationship with Nigeria very much.
“And we think that our bilateral relations are very strategic and they face new opportunities for growth. So, it is a good thing for the two sides to seize the opportunity and grow the relationship.
“The media can play a very important role in it. So you see, at the end of the day, the understanding and the friendship between the peoples of both countries are the foundation for any good relationship.
“Xinhua News Agency is the official News Agency of China. It is big and NAN is also very big.
“So we wish to see your cooperation with Xinhua strengthened and from the embassy’s side, we are willing to do whatever it takes to facilitate the relationship.
“NAN is definitely a priority and from your side, if you have more specific ideas for cooperation, we are willing and open to further discussions.
“If we can be closer to NAN we feel we are closer to Nigeria,” Zhou said.