The Federal Government has opened talks with the Peoples Republic of China to have access to COVID-19 vaccines for the citizens, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said on Tuesday.

This is as both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on establishment of an inter-governmental committee to coordinate aspects of cooperation between both countries.

The MOU was signed by Onyeama and the Chinese State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi in Abuja on Tuesday. The Chinese Foreign Minister is on a two-day working visit to Abuja.

Briefing reporters after their bilateral meeting, Onyeama said at this point when countries were discovering vaccines and China being one of them, Nigeria was engaging the country in the area of access to the vaccine.

“We have received a lot of support from China in the area of personal protective equipment that they were very quick to provide us with. China is also one of those countries that have been able to discover vaccines for COVID-19. So, we are also engaging with China to also help with regards to access to vaccines for our people,” he said.

On 50th year bilateral relationship between both countries, Onyeama said: “We also realised that in 2021, we would be celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and the Peoples Republic of China.”

On the other issues discussed, the minister said he and his Chinese counterpart looked at the trade relations between the two countries and areas that could be improved on.

“In the area of fostering relations, both countries are now considering having a direct flight from Nigeria to China. We want to establish a direct air link with China. We hope that very soon, a Nigerian carrier would be carrying out scheduled flights to China in the not too distant future,” Onyeama said.