President Muhammadu Buhari and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Wednesday agreed to put Nigeria-Russia relations on a fast track, and pursue the completion of all abandoned projects initiated by both countries.
Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, made this known in a statement on Wednesday.
Garba said the two leaders made the pledge at a bilateral meeting held on sidelines of ongoing Russia-Africa Summit, in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday.
They also agreed to start new infrastructure projects and expand trade and investment, security and military cooperation.
According to statements made by both leaders, Nigeria and Russia will work together to improve efficiency of Nigeria’s oil sector, “which is the backbone of the economy.”
“The cooperation, in a way will see to the rehabilitation of epileptic oil refineries through establishment of framework for a joint venture between Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Russia-based leading oil company, Lukoil.’’
Both NNPC and Lukoil, according to the presidential aide, will work towards the prospect of oil in deep offshore.
Shehu also disclosed that Nigeria and Russia also agreed to revive and solidify the venture between the NNPC and Russia’s gas giant, Gazprom for the development of Nigeria’s enormous gas potential and infrastructure.
“The issue of uncompleted and abandoned Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill was presented by President Buhari.
“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 added.