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Russia-Africa Summit: Buhari departs Sochi after strengthening ties in security, manufacturing

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Friday left Sochi, Russia for Abuja after he had participated at the Russia–African Summit aimed at building stronger ties between the countries. 

The presidency had announced his departure to the summit to meet with Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, in facilitating the expansion of opportunities in the country’s security, trade and investment, science and technology, and gas production sectors.

The meeting was scheduled to hold between October 23 and 25, having in attendance 40 African leaders.

Tolu Ogunlesi, Special Assistant to the President on New Media and Head of Presidency Office of Digital Engagement (PODE), disclosed highlights of the bilateral agreements that took place at the summit.

“Agreement on a JV between Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Russia-based Lukoil, focused on refinery revitalization,” was part of the products of the meeting according to Ogunlesi.

“Nigeria and Russia agreed to revive and solidify the venture between the NNPC and Russia’s Gazprom for gas Infrastructure development in Nigeria,” he also said.

Ogunlesi disclosed that president Buhari requested for the return of Russia, on a government-to-government basis, to complete and launch the abandoned Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill.

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He noted that the request was accepted by President Putin. Buhari equally sought Russia’s support for Nigeria’s aspiration for permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council.

The Russian government also agreed to construct a 1,400 kilometre Rail Line from Lagos to Calabar, Ogunlesi said adding that progress was made in the Russia’s plan to establish a nuclear power plant in Nigeria. About the plant, Putin stated that the next step would be the commencement of construction.

According to him, Buhari agreed to renew the Nigeria-Russia Military Technical Agreement “within the shortest possible time”, adding that this would propel Nigeria’s efforts to purchase military hardware from Russia on a government-to-government basis as well as underpin training.

He said the president  assured the speedy resolution of entanglements surrounding the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria, (ALSCON) located in Ikot-Abasi, Akwa-Ibom State.

Russia, on the other hand, he disclosed also assured of additional scholarship grants to Nigerians.

He noted that the Russian leader said his country is ready to support Nigeria’s efforts to attain self-sufficiency in wheat production and fertiliser production being the world’s “number one wheat producer”.

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