Nigeria and Russia Wednesday signed six agreements and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) covering energy, oil and gas production, metallurgy and space exploration as Rus sian President Dmitry Medvedev rounded off his one-day visit to Nigeria.
The agreements and MOU, aimed at boosting the â€œstrategic partnershipâ€ between the two nations, include the one on the cooperation in the field of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes as well as an MoU and Artic les of Association on Joint Venture between the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Russian gas giant GAZPROM.
NNPC said earlier it had signed an MOU with Gazprom on joint venture projects worth up to US$2.5 billion.
Other pacts are on the Transfer of Persons Sentenced to Imprisonment; Investment Promotion and Protection of Agreement (IPPA); Legal Cooperation between the Nigerian and Russian Ministries of Justice and an MOU on Cooperation in the field of Exploration of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes.
At a joint press conference with President Umaru Yar’Adua, Medvedev said the agreements were â€œall practical embodiments of the direction of the partnership between the two countries..â€
He said in addition to the agreements, â€œmany specialists will be trained in Russia for the betterment of Nigeria.”
”In energy security, we have been participating in oil and gas sector and have organised a few forum of gas experts. And we are in the process of rendering further assistance in future. Nigeria nd Russia are one of the lead ing countries in oil and gas. We will cooperate in tapping the resources,â€ said President Medvedev.
In his comments, President Yarâ€™Adua said: â€œNigeria is more of a gas nation than an oil nation. We have over 184 trillion cubic tonnes of gas. And with the signing of the MOU, it will provide a great opportunity for exploit ation of the gas resources.”
He added that the investment climate in Nigeria in the gas sector was such that the ”enabling laws put in place ensures one of the highest returns on investment in the worldâ€.
President Medvedev, the first Russian leader to visit Nigeria, had earlier arrived at the Presidential Villa in the capital city of Abuja, where he was received by host President Yarâ€™Adua.
After arrival formalities, President Medvedev inspected a guard of honour mounted at the foyer by troops of the Guards Brigade of the Nigerian Army. He was also greeted with a 21-gun salute.
President Medvedev and his entourage were scheduled to leave Nigeria by midnight in continuation of an African tour that has taken the Kremlin leader to Egypt and includes further stops in Angola and Namibia.
Abuja – 24/06/2009