Nigeria’s foreign minister, Godfrey Onyeama disclosed on Wednesday that the Taiwanese trade mission in the country’s capital would be shut down in Abuja and moved to Lagos instead.
The announcement was seen as a move by Nigeria to take sides with China in exchange for a $40bn development pledge. China has refused to recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty, insisting that it has legitimate claims over the tiny Island nation.
Only 21 countries in the world recognize Taiwan as a sovereign country but Nigeria has never had formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Taiwanese officials have reacted to Wednesday’s announcement with some degree of ire, accusing the Nigerian government of allowing itself to be manipulated by China.
Taiwan’s foreign office said in a statement lashed Nigeria “for collaborating with China’s political goal to engage in unreasonable, barbaric, rough and violent political manipulation”.