China’s newly inaugurated billion dollar port in Lagos, Nigeria, will be a “game-changer” for the African nation’s economy, according to Chinese ambassador Cui Jianchun on Jan. 23.
Gushing media promoted his promise that up to 200,000 jobs will be created for workers living near the Lekki Free Trade Zone, approximately 23 miles southeast of Lagos.
The port is 75 percent owned by China and 25 percent owned by the Nigerian Port Authority, which will assume ownership in 45 years.
But Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.), the new chairman of the House Subcommittee on Military Readiness sounded an alarm to The Epoch Times.
The new Chinese port in Lagos puts the United States on the back foot, according to Waltz.
“President Xi of China is seeking to displace us as a superpower and extend China’s global military presence with this new port. They could put a ballistic missile system in that port that would give the United States only minutes to prepare for a nuclear attack,” Waltz told The Epoch Times.
“That would put our bases in Jacksonville, Florida; Norfolk, Virginia; and Washington, at risk.
Going forward, we need a more aggressive, economically driven agenda for Africa,” he said.
Under construction for six years and costing $1.5 billion the Lekki Deep Sea Port is Nigeria’s first deep seaport and is expected to be the container transportation hub for all of Africa, according to Nigerian trade media.
“The new port in Lagos seems to be going towards the direction of becoming China’s Atlantic coast equivalent of China’s naval base in Djibouti,” said Se Hoon Kim, director of the Captive Nations Coalition of the Committee on the Present Danger, to The Epoch Times.
Increasing China’s Say in Africa
“It’s a fact documented in our report on the Belt and Road Initiative that every Chinese company in Africa—and elsewhere around the world—is either owned by the Chinese government or is obliged to comply with Chinese government regulations.
“One of these is that overseas infrastructures, especially ports built by Chinese corporations must be able to accommodate PLA [People’s Liberation Army] presence and/or operations.”
“It strongly indicates that the Lagos port will more than likely become the model for similar ports all along the coast of West Africa. The result, undoubtably, will be that China will have a strong say and potentially indirect authority in West Africa’s overall political matters and economic development.”
The project has been sold to the public as a door opener to a real estate bonanza for industrial enterprises in the Free Trade Zone. It is expected to make immense impact on the nation’s economy, bringing $350 billion in revenue for the state over the period of 45 years, according to Lagos commercial media.
China is offering sea and land transportation corporations its own logistics platform to track shipments of goods: a software program called Logink.
The U.S. China Commission, a research arm of the U.S. Congress, warns of the dangers of allowing China to be the logistics boss for all trade traffic in Africa.
“Logink provides users with a one-stop shop for logistics data management, shipment tracking, and information exchange needs between enterprises as well as from business to government,” according to the commission study of Logink.
“China is promoting logistics data standards that would support the platform’s widespread use. A second generation of Logink, now under development, would offer a cloud-based suite of enterprise software applications, such as advanced data analytics and business partner relationship management tools.”
The commission also warns that American investors would likely be at a disadvantage.
“Logink’s visibility into global shipping and supply chains could also enable the Chinese government to identify U.S. supply chain vulnerabilities and to track shipments of U.S. military cargo on commercial freight.
“Though Logink claims users can share only the data they want, the security of the platform is unclear. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could potentially gain access to and control massive amounts of sensitive business and foreign government data through Logink.”
“All of China’s Belt and Road projects are designed to have both commercial and military applications, thus are dual-use investments, according to Frank Gaffney, vice-chair of the Committee on the Present Danger, an interest group.
Gaffney added: “There are probably scores of such projects in South America as well as Africa. The new port in Lagos, without doubt, has been planned to service Chinese military assets, possibly aircraft carriers someday.
“From its base in Nigeria, the Chinese navy could interdict all maritime trade to Africa’s Atlantic port system in the sub-Saharan region,” Gaffney told The Epoch Times.
Apart from spying on the freight movers throughout the length of Africa, the new port is expected to be a hub for China’s surveillance technology.
Nigeria’s Defence Intelligence Agency for years has deployed surveillance equipment allowing it to spy on calls and text messages of Nigerian citizens, according to a report by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, which researches digital surveillance, security, privacy, and accountability.
The Nigerian company is named Circles and is linked to the Tel Aviv-based NSO Group, an Israeli hacker-for-hire company, that has produced the Pegasus software believed to be deployed by several governments to spy on dissidents.
At least two Nigerian governors have used the software they acquired from Nigeria’s Defense Intelligence Agency to spy on their opponents.
Hikvision, a video camera surveillance company linked to controlling the movements of Chinese citizens, is freely sold in Nigeria though it has been banned for use in the United States by the Federal Communications Commission, since it has been called an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security.
In Nigeria, Hikvision has sales offices in the Lekki Free Trade Zone and in the capital of Abuja.