China on Monday provided Nigeria with 5 million U.S. dollars in emergency humanitarian aid as part of its support for relief efforts by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in northeast Nigeria.
The cash contribution from China is to help purchase 4,305 metric tons of rice to support 410,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees in the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe.
A total of 184,500 men and 225,500 women are currently affected by the food shortage in that region, according to official data.
At the hand-over ceremony at the warehouse of WFP near Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, Chinese ambassador in Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, said the emergency support was to ensure food sufficiency in the region.
Nigeria's northeast region has been plagued by more than seven years' insurgency of Boko Haram, making life very difficult for the people, especially women and children, Zhou noted.
"Nigeria and China are very good friends. With this, we want to send a message that the Chinese will always give support to their Nigerian brothers and sisters," he said.
Ron Sibanda, country director and representative of the WFP, acknowledged China's contributions to support the food program in Nigeria.
The support had come to the west African country at a very crucial time, Sibanda said.
Governor of Borno State Kashim Shettima, when meeting Zhou later at the governor's office, praised the Chinese government for its invaluable support to Nigeria, saying the emergency humanitarian assistance underscored the very cordial relations between the two countries.