President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Sochi, Russia, said Nigeria was not averse to more investments coming from Russia, especially in the areas of gas and security structures.
He said fresh energy would be injected into Nigeria-Russia relations to bolster an age-long relationship that has been mutually rewarding and promising.
According to the Nigerian President, he would like to see a stronger partnership that is humane, inclusive and diversified.
In a statement at the second plenary of the Russia-Africa Summit, where more than 40 leaders are participating, President Buhari said the initial warmth and harmony enjoyed with the former USSR after Nigeria’s Independence in 1960 should be revitalised so that citizens of both countries can benefit from socio-cultural, educational, technological and trade exchange.
The Russia-Africa Summit is co-chaired by President Vladimir Putin of Russia and African Union Chairman and President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
“Nigeria’s relations with Russia just like the rest of Africa began during the Soviet era when diplomatic relation was first established in 1960. That relationship covered areas such as education, healthcare, solid minerals development and military assistance especially during Nigeria’s civil war.
“More recently, our partnership has extended to the oil and gas sector as well as military and technical assistance in support of our fight against Boko Haram insurgency. At this point, I would once again like to thank His Excellency, President Putin for his support especially in the area of security.
“It is my hope that through this forum, Russia and Africa will revitalise their time-tested relationship by exploring new opportunities for the collective benefit of our peoples,’’ the President said.
President Buhari said the collapse of the USSR in 1991 affected relations between Russia and African nations, which lagged behind historical levels, noting that the former Soviet Union had been a key partner of Africa.
“We all remember the strong support we received from the former Soviet Union in our anti-colonial struggles. Africa will continue to remember this, and many other significant gestures of solidarity and support that shaped our history as a continent. We are eternally grateful to the Soviet Union for coming to the aid of Africa in its hour of need.
“As we live in an increasingly changing world driven by trade, technology and innovation, the time has come to inject new energy and pragmatism in Africa-Russia relations for the mutual benefit of both Africa and Russia,’’ he added.
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