Russia Reiterates Interest in Ajoakuta Steel


Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Russia has disclosed that its interest in helping Nigeria develop her steel industry in Ajoakuta has not waned, and is willing to be involved immediately the opportunity beckons.
The Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Nikolay Udovichenko, disclosed this to journalists during the commemoration of the Russian National Day in Abuja

He noted that Russia, having supported other nations in developing their steel industry, is ready to assist Nigeria as part of effort to further deepen relations between Russia and Nigeria.
“There have been some discussions on this issue and I hope that they will bring us to success because the Russian company which is working on similar projects in other countries are ready to take part in the resuscitation of Ajaokuta steel plant,” he said.

The envoy said the commemoration of the Russian National Day was important for his country’s cooperation with Nigeria.

While noting that relations between the two countries have been cordial and needed to be deepened further, Udovichenko remarked that the recent visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to Moscow last May opened up a vista of opportunities for both countries, adding that Onyeama’s meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, further improved military and economic ties between both countries.

He said other important sectors both countries needed to strengthen ties on include energy, oil and gas, nuclear power, agriculture and education, disclosing that Russia has given over a hundred scholarship to Nigerians this year.

On the area of peace and security, the envoy reccalled that Russia in last February provided two helicopters to support the military, and is ready to make such gesture a regular practice in supporting peace and security efforts in Nigeria.

On the issue of world peace, Udovichenko maintained that his country is ready to mend frosty relations with United States for permanent world peace, acknowledging that relations between US and Russia is not only critical to both countries but also to rid the world of conflicts.

He expressed hope that the forthcoming meeting between the Presidents of US and Russia, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, respectively would improve the relations between the two countries.

“We try to improve the relations. I hope that the forthcoming meeting between the two presidents will bring a visible achievement to that because what it was before was not very good, not very acceptable not only for our countries but for the security of the world.

“We are ready to improve the relationship and improve the bilateral and multilateral dialogue on different security issues, notably on terrorism, which is a challenge to the whole world,” the ambassador said.