Nigeria commended for role in Africa’s growth

Godwin Ukaa, Moscow

Nigeria has been commended for its leadership role in the socio-economic and political growth of the African continent.

The commendation was re-echoed at the Africa Day celebration held in Moscow as part of the programme lined up for the visit of Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.

The presentation of the Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Sergey Lavrov and other African Ministers of Foreign Affairs reflected the great positive role Nigeria has been playing in global diplomacy. Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Onyeama used the occasion to give the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s global foreign policy drive.

“Russia has shown great solidarity with us and we really look forward to a vibrant and very dynamic relationship between our two countries. We face a lot of conflict in Africa and also our country Nigeria, and again we are looking to Russia. Russia is showing great solidarity with us in confronting some of our security challenges in the area of terrorism, which has now become a global challenge and we appreciate very much the importance of working together and sharing intelligence and we are delighted that Russia is on the same page with us.” He said.

Russia has also promised to supply Nigeria with military hardware and
helicopters to battle the boko haram sect.

The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama said both countries were stepping up their cooperation in the efforts to stamp out boko haram and other terrorist groups in the world.

He however revealed that, at the continental level, the African Union, AU, will be putting in place an implementation unit that will monitor the goals and ambitious steps they have taken to transform the AU and Africa at large.

The Minister also urged Russia to engage with Africa given its level of achievement in all human endeavours.

“We believe that such a great country that has achieved wonderful things in all sectors, Russia should engage with Africa,” he noted

The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama mentioned the AU developmental plan entitled 2063 Agenda with key priority of transforming Africa and to eradicate instability on the continent.

“The question of peace is a key priority. We must silence the guns on this continent by the year 2020,” he said.

Human Development

While noting that the continent might have been facing some challenges, he however submitted that it has also recorded some level of improvement, peace and stability and democratic governance and human development.

The Russian government through its Minister of Foreign Affairs pledged to build up multidimensional and mutually beneficial relations as well as continued participation in various assistance programmes and projects for Africa under the auspices of AU, G20and BRICS.

“And for Africa too, in peace keeping and their role in United Nations, as one of the key five, permanent members of the Security Council, they will have an influence in the resources the United Nations will make available for peace keeping in Africa. Most of the peace keeping duties undertaking by United Nations are in Africa and we will certainly need the support of Russia as we know that there is call by the other key four members to reduce the amount of money available for peacekeeping in Africa,he emphasised.

On the gains of his visit to Russia, Mr Onyeama said, the country was ready to engage more with Nigeria and engage more with Africa in the areas of priority to Nigeria which is security and the economy.

“We are trying to diversify our economy and diversification is not just in strengthening various sectors, but also in engaging with every partner and Russia that has unique value that they can add to our economic relations in the area of oil and gas and power and agriculture and also science and technology” he added.