President Buhari Returns To Abuja (Photo)

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Naijatell reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Abuja after actively participating in the three-day Russia – Africa Summit held in Sochi, Russia, which 40 Heads of States attended.

The presidential aircraft conveying the president and some members of his entourage landed at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, at about 5.25 p.m Nigerian time.

During the forum in Sochi, President Buhari, on Oct. 23 met with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, where the two leaders agreed to put Nigeria-Russia relations on a fast track, and pursue the completion of all abandoned projects initiated by both countries.

The two leaders, who made the pledge at a bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the Summit, also agreed to start new infrastructural projects and expand trade and investment, security and military cooperation.

The two leaders agreed that Nigeria and Russia will work together to improve efficiency of Nigeria’s oil sector, which is the backbone of the economy. The cooperation will see to the rehabilitation of epileptic oil refineries through establishment of framework for a joint venture between Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Russia-based leading oil company, Lukoil,’’ Garba Shehu, the President’s spokesman, said in an earlier statement on Wednesday.

According to the Presidential aide, both NNPC and Lukoil will work towards the prospect of oil in deep offshore.

Buhari also presented the issue of uncompleted and abandoned Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill. His request for the return of Russia, on a government-to-government relationship, for completion and commissioning of the plant was accepted by President Putin,’’ he further revealed.

The presidential aide also revealed that the Russian Government had agreed to support development of Nigeria’s rail infrastructure by constructing 1,400 kilometres track from Lagos to the South-South city of Calabar.

At the plenary of the Russia – Africa summit on Thursday, President Buhari pledged to inject fresh energy into Nigeria-Russia relations to bolster an age-long relationship that had been mutually rewarding and promising. The President called for a stronger partnership that is humane, inclusive and diversified.

On Oct. 24, Nigeria and Russia signed an important Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which would enable both countries’ oil giants, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Russia’s Lukeoil to elevate commercial relationship to a government-to-government backed partnership.

Shehu said that with the signing of the MoU, NNPC and Lukeoil would work together in upstream operations and revamp Nigeria’s refineries.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari said that Lukeoil, signed the MoU, which entailed cooperation in deep offshore exploration of oil in Nigeria, production, trading and refining.

Also on Thursday, President Buhari told a gathering of Nigerian students and professionals living in Russia, towards the conclusion of his three-day visit to Russia, that “the life of every Nigerian, in every part of the world matters’’. He, therefore, promised to stretch government’s reach and capacity in protecting all Nigerians, not minding the distance.


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