The Government of the Peoples Republic of China on Thursday awarded scholarships to 47 Students of the University of Calabar (UniCal), to celebrate the 47th anniversary of China-Nigeria diplomatic ties.
The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou PingJiang, who presented the awards on behalf of the Government, noted that Nigeria and China had many things in common.
“While China has the largest population in Asia, Nigeria has the largest population in Africa.
“Also, we are the largest economy in Asia and the second largest in the World while Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa.
“We have many similarities and that is why our diplomatic ties have been very strong.”
He attributed China’s current economic strength to the “reform and open up’’ policy initiated 40 years ago, adding that the policy was based on a tripartite system of strong leadership, policy, and good work.
“And after 40 years of that reform and open up policy, China today has become the second largest economy in the World.”
Pingjuang lauded the management of UniCal for the great strides in academic and infrastructural development within four decades of its existence.
He also thanked the management for its hospitality.
Responding, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Zana Akpagu, expressed gratitude to the ambassador for choosing the institution for the awards ahead of other notable universities in the country.
He said that the gesture was a testimony that UniCal was receiving international recognition.
Akpagu announced that the institution had initiated a move to set up an Institute of African and Asian Studies.
He solicited the support of the ambassador in actualizing the institute.
The 47 awardees were drawn from various departments of the university.
In an interview, one of the awardees, Mr Okpi Bernard, a 500 level Law student, expressed joy over the award, describing it as “very wonderful”.
“I am very excited about this award. It means a lot to me; I am an orphan and this will go a long way in helping to pay my school fees,” he said.