Rear Admiral Ayo-Vaughan, a spokesperson for the Nigerian navy, told AFP on Monday that “this is a friendly visit” with the goal of “improving diplomacy” between China and Nigeria.
On Sunday, one of the ships anchored at Lagos’ Apapa port, where a ceremony was held. According to Cui Jianchun, the Chinese ambassador to Nigeria, this “visit was a major event in recent years.”
According to him, as stated in a statement posted on the embassy’s website, this event “testifies to a high level of trust” between the two nations and will “strengthen” the connections between the two fleets, particularly in terms of “jointly resolving regional security problems”.
The Gulf of Guinea, a vital maritime passage that borders oil-rich nations and spans over 5,700 kilometers between Senegal and Angola, has long been the new hotspot for international piracy, even though instances of piracy have recently decreased.
Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, and China have very tight economic and financial relations. Particularly, it has made significant investments in infrastructure, such as the brand-new Lekki deep-water port on the outskirts of Lagos.
Nigeria, which suffers from severe insecurity, including piracy and jihadist strife in the north-east, turns primarily on the United States, one of its primary suppliers of military hardware, for security assistance.
Concern over Chinese plans to build a military outpost on the Atlantic coast of West Africa was voiced by US defense officials last year.