The Federal Government of Nigeria on Wednesday severed all diplomatic relations with Taiwan and subsequently ordered the closure of the Taiwanese office in Abuja.
This revelation was brought to light by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, while answering questions from newsmen after a joint news conference with the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs in Abuja.
Onyeama said Nigeria had withdrawn all diplomatic relations with Taiwan as a country, adding that Taiwanese office in Abuja would be shut down and be relocated to Lagos.
He said: “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 out of Abuja 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 there is no formal contact with the government that will suggest recognition of Taiwan as sovereign country.”
The minister further stated that China does not oppose relationship with Taiwan in the level of trade but not on government to government level.
Onyeama, while clarifying that Nigeria was not pressured to take the decision, added that the country recognised the People’s Republic of China as a country because Nigeria was one of the leading African nations that fought for China to reclaim its seat at the UN Security Council from Taiwan.
He said the step being taken was to right a wrong that one could not “specifically say how it came”.
The minister said: “It was not very clear how it got into the Nigerian system – an arrangement for the Taiwan for a trade mission.”
“And in granting the right of the trade mission, it did not accurately reflect the nature of relationship between Nigeria and Taiwan.”
Onyeama said the country took the decision in order to remove any iota of doubt in the mind of the Chinese people.