Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Nigeria, Nikolay Udovichenko, has said the development of nuclear technologies will greatly enhance Nigeria’s position as one of the leading economies in the African continent.
The envoy, who stated this during a roundtable with journalists in Abuja on relations between Nigeria and Russia in the outgoing year, noted that nuclear technologies apart from being able to fast track development of the country by synergising with other technologies is capable of creating hundreds of thousands of job to address Nigeria’s unemployment challenges.
“We are confident that the development of these nuclear technologies would allow Nigeria to strengthen her position as one of the leading economies of the African continent. We understand that the project is of a large scale and of strategic importance. It would bring about thousands of new jobs; it has accumulated effect with synergy with other space development.
“We see that this project would lead to development of infrastructure, to new levels of education, new skills and generation of specialists, so it is very important,” the envoy said.
Udovinchenko disclosed that Nigeria and Russia’s partnership on development of nuclear technologies started in 2009 when the two countries reached agreement on cooperation and establishment of the technology in Nigeria.
It was in 2009 when we signed the government agreement on cooperation on the peaceful usage of nuclear technologies. It was followed by an agreement on cooperation in design construction, operation and the commissioning of the nuclear power plant in Nigeria.
“This year we signed an intergovernmental agreement on design, construction, operation and the commissioning of a research center housing a multipurpose nuclear research reactor. Also in October, we signed another agreement to realise the general intergovernmental agreement to implement our plans to construct nuclear power plant and nuclear research center.
“We also signed the roadmap on how to do it. We have fixed terms and we have fixed date, the roadmap includes feasibility studies, work capacity, equipment list by which we could ensure the nuclear center is equipped with some technologies,” he said.
While remarking that the implementation of the agreement by the two countries have been running smoothly, the envoy commended Nigeria’s recent upgrade among countries with ease of doing business, adding that the situation would attract more Russian companies to do business in Nigeria.
He also commended Nigeria’s latest effort at resuscitating the moribund Ajaokuta steel industry and advised the government to involve the Russian firm that initially built the company.
“We are also glad to see that the Nigerian government is strongly committed to reactivating Ajaokuta steel plant and we hope that the Russian company which is an initial builder of the plant would be involved in the process.
“Also just a few days ago came the good news that the Nigerian government practically settled the dispute over the ALSCON Company where our Russian company has some shares as they confirmed the title of ownership of ALSCON that these shares belong to the Russian company. So it is also a good development. And maybe just soon, we would see that the Russian company would reactivate ALSCON factory, it means that thousands of people in the local community would come back to jobs,” he added.