Sixty-five Nigerians sponsored by the CCECC Nigeria Limited to study at Chinese universities have returned to the country after graduation to contribute to the development of the transport sector.
The programme is a joint effort between CCECC Nigeria Limited, and two Chinese ivory tower, Central South University and Chang’an University.
The latest graduates make it 197 Nigerians that have benefitted from the sponsorship that commenced few years back.
Among the returned 65 students are 49 undergraduates and 16 postgraduates, majoring in Civil Engineering, Transportation Engineering, and Road, Bridge, and River-crossing Engineering, amongst others.
They were received at a colourful ceremony held at the CCECC Nigeria Limited headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday evening.
Speaking at the ceremony, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani, said they would contribute to the current move of the government to revatilise the railway system in the country.
She recalled that the federal government had moved railway construction to the concurrent list to allow the state governments to invest in the sector as a result of its importance to the development of the transport system in particular and the economy in general.
Ajani, while noting that there were many railway projects currently ongoing across the country, said the projects could only be sustained when there was capable manpower to man them.
The Permanent Secretary therefore called on the graduates to see their involvement in actualising the federal government’s agenda as a call to service to Nigeria, assuring them of a remarkable career path.
The Managing Director of CCECC Nigeria Limited, Mr. Wang Xixue, said the company had been working with the government of Nigeria, Central South University and Chang’an University in China in selecting and sponsoring young Nigerians to further their education in China since 2018.
He said: “In 2018, the first batch of 45 students who started their five-year undergraduate program in Ahmed Bello University were selected to attend this 3+2 program, which means that after 3-year study in Nigeria, they will be sponsored by CCECC to continue their study in Central South University, China.
“Among these 45 young talents, 25 students have already returned to Nigeria after their graduation in 2020. 20 are continuing their study for master’s degrees, and now these 20 students are also standing here after their successful graduation this year.
“Also, in the same year of 2018, CCECC started its 1+4 cooperation program with Chang’an University, China. Under this program, the students sponsored by CCECC will attend 1-year language study in China before they are officially enrolled in their 4-year study as undergraduate students in Chang’an University.”
Chairman of CCECC Nigeria Limited Zhang Zhichen, in his speech, congratulated the students on the successful completion of their studies, calling on them to join the company.
Zhichen also charged them to apply the knowledge and skills they learned in China to their work and contribute to the economic and social development of Nigeria, while urging them to become the ambassadors of friendship between the Chinese and Nigerians.
He said: “This year marks the tenth anniversary of “One Belt and One Road Initiative.” It is an inclusive and open platform on which member countries are cooperating and co-developing. As a member of this initiative, Nigeria is working with China not only in infrastructure development, logistics and trade, but also cultural exchange and technical know-how transfer. The graduates of 2023 are a testament of this great cooperation.
“The company is also actively playing a significant role in fulfilling its corporate social responsibility by donating at least 10 school buildings to the local communities and establishing the University of Transportation in Daura, Katsina State, to assist the technical knowhow transfer and capability building in the country.
“This cooperation program between CCECC, the government of Nigeria, and the best engineering universities in China like Central South University and Chang’an University, is another shining example of the dedication of the company to shoulder its responsibility.
“For CCECC, by sponsoring these young minds to study engineering majors, which are urgently needed in the country, the company is showing the true spirit of giving back to society, and is achieving its goal of carrying out the full industrial chain cooperation with technical knowhow transfer needed in the country,” he said.
In his remarks, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Cui Jianchun,, while congratulating the students, said they have demonstrated how two countries could cooperate and jointly educate young talents.
He said: “It is a typical example of China-Africa cooperation in capacity building, and an epitome of in-depth cooperation between China and Nigeria.
“The students will be the promoters of cultural exchanges between China and Nigeria, and will play active roles in enhancing mutual understanding and trust between the two peoples.”
At the end of the event, the representatives of graduates and CCECC Nigeria Limited signed the letter of intent for their internship in the company.