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Buhari-We Will inject fresh Energy into Russia-Nigeria Relations

 President Buhari said the initial warmth and harmony enjoyed with the former USSR after Nigeria’s independence in 1960 should be revitalized so that citizens of both countries can benefit from socio-cultural, educational, technological and trade exchange. He also called for a stronger partnership that is humane, inclusive and diversified.

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.

 Buhari, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said Nigeria’s relations with Russia just like the rest of Africa began during the Soviet era when diplomatic relations 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 juncture, I would once again like to thank His Excellency, President Putin for his support especially in the area of security.

 President explained that hopefully Russia and Africa will revitalize their time-tested relationship by exploring new opportunities for the collective benefit of their peoples,

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. He the support of the Soviet Union for coming to the aid of Africa in its hour of need.

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 He added that as  world ischanging 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.

President Buhari said the mutually beneficial relationship must go beyond trade and business to address challenges like counter-terrorism, poverty eradication, human and drug trafficking, illicit financial flows, climate change and migration.

 Nigerian President further stressed that the inclusive economic diversification agenda of Africa, captured in the visionary Agenda 2063, will forge a new Nigeria-Russia cooperation, pointing out that progress had been witnessed in areas of power generation, solid minerals development and rail transportation.

President Buhari stated that the progress should be expanded to agriculture, manufacturing and other means of transportation, adding that 200 Nigerian university students in Russia were benefiting from Russian Government scholarships which have been on-going since 1960. Earlier this year, Nigeria signed a Bilateral Education Agreement (BEA) with Russia which will expand the human capital development support.

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