Nigeria has severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan because China says so. It's all about the money.
Nigeria has just sent Taiwan packing from its capital city of Abuja because China has promised to invest $40B or more, in the West African nation.
China is also loaning Nigeria $6B.
Nigeria needs every cent of those monies because the country is battling a biting economic recession made certain by a slump in the global price of oil.
But to get hold of that money, China needed one small favour from Nigeria--chase Taiwan out of Abuja.
ALSO READ: Nigeria ends relationship with Taiwan
You see, Taiwan and China do not see eye-to-eye.
Taiwan is a small Island nation which lies 180km east of China, with a population of just over 23 million people.
In pursuance of its "One China Policy", China doesn't want Taiwan anywhere near where it retains plenty of economic interests.
According to Bloomberg, "The Communist Party (in China) considers the self-governed island (Taiwan) a province and has criticized President Tsai Ing-wen’s refusal to accept that both sides belong to “One China,” its precondition for ties.
Interpretation: Taiwan has refused to be a part of China. It prefers to be independent. So, wherever China goes as it peddles its global economic influence, it doesn't want to see Taiwan near.
When China's foreign affairs minister, Wang Yi, met his Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja recently, he put chasing Taiwan from Nigeria's capital, as a precondition for doing business with Nigeria, on the table.
It was a case of: deal or no deal, Nigeria.
And Nigeria bought the deal. Not like it had that much of a choice, right?
Onyeama told journalists on Wednesday that Nigeria wasn't only severing its relationship with Taiwan, it will also close that country's trade mission office in Abuja.
However, Onyeama noted, Nigeria will be kind enough to Taiwan by telling the Island nation to move its trade office to Lagos.
Lagos is Nigeria's commercial capital city.
Onyeama said Taiwan has to leave Abuja because it isn't a country recognised under international law.
Here's foreign minister Onyeama: "Taiwan will stop enjoying any privileges because it is not a country that is recognised under international law and under the position we have taken internationally, we recognise the people of China.
“Taiwan will not have any diplomatic representation in Nigeria and also they will be moving to Lagos to the extent that they function as a trade mission with a skeletal staff.
“Chinese Government does not oppose trading with Taiwan as such, as long as there is no formal contact with the Government that will suggest recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign country.
Taiwan's foreign ministry protested the treatment it had just been handed by Nigeria because of China.
“The foreign ministry strongly protests and condemns the unreasonable, rude and outrageous act of political hype carried out by the Nigerian government in complying with mainland China’s political goals,” a statement from the Taiwanese foreign ministry read.
But China was very pleased.
Foreign minister Wang told President Muhammadu Buhari that “China appreciates that the Nigerian side made good on its pledge to implement the One-China principle, and carried out concrete and decisive measures to clear political obstacles to the development of bilateral relations.”
But trust us, this is all about the money for Nigeria.
Wang revealed that much, earlier in the week.
“Nigeria and China are strategic partners; our relations have been developing well; China has already invested or financed a total number of $22B projects here in Nigeria, another $23B projects are on-going.
“In addition, we are also following up another over $40B of investments, which is in the pipeline.
“Compare to the size, population and market of our two countries, our cooperation still have large potential to be deepened,” he said.
Onyeama also spoke along similar lines: “I think the level of cooperation with China is extremely high and the Chinese government is investing huge amount of money in Nigeria.
“Probably between $60B to $80B and we are extremely happy for that.’’
Apologies, Taiwan. As much as we feel sorry for you, you can start packing your wares to Lagos. Whenever you have $60B to $80B for Nigeria, let's talk. Just show us the money.
We can rename Nigeria right now if China says we should.
After all, it's all about the Benjamin, baby!
Who Taiwan epp?