Buhari’s Foreign Trip Yielding Results - SSA
Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Public Affairs, Mr Ajuri Ngelale, says the President’s trips to Russia and Saudi Arabia have begun to yield positive results.
Ngelale said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.
“President Muhammadu Buhari's excursions to the Russian Federation and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been very much in the interests of the nation.
“I say that because we look at the derivables from those trips and we realise the extent to which those trips have now added value to our nation’s economy moving forward.
“Specifically, we are really excited about the Russian trip because we had a series of negotiations that culminated in agreements that we have now signed bilaterally which are all Government to Government transactions," he said.
The SSA identified solid minerals development, transportation, iron ore mining and defence sectors as some of the sectors that directly benefited from the collaboration between Nigeria and Russia
According to Ngelale, 1 billion-US-dollar facility is to be shared by the Russian Federation, the Federal Government and the Afrexim bank to ensure total restoration of the Ajaokuta steel complex, stressing that the country would soon stop importation of steel.
“We seek to industrialise our country and employ our people and lift our people out of poverty.
“We'll finally be able to be producing our own steel" he said.
Ngelale further said the Buhari administration had prioritised the resuscitation of the Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company in Itapke
“So, there's a 400-million-US-dollar facility separate for the revival of Niamco so that we have that iron ore supply to Ajaokuta for steel development" he said.
The SSA said an agreement has been struck with the Russian Government to supply Nigeria with 12 M1-35 attack helicopters which will be used in combating insecurity and other security threats confronting the nation.
“These are heavily weaponised, very stealthy, very fast attack helicopters which will make a difference.
“In terms of anti-piracy, we are going to be getting some physical infrastructure from them, in terms of gunboat, gunships and things that will help secure our maritime, our waters" he said.
On transportation, Ngelale said that the Russian Federation had struck an agreement with Nigeria to build a rail carriage manufacturing facility in the country.
“So now we are going to be building train cars in Nigeria thereby de-congesting the ports, and taking pressure off the roads," he said.
In the area of gemstone development, Ngelale stated that the Russian geo-scientists and Nigerian geo-scientists have agreed to geologically map the nation in order to identify the location, mass and forms of solid minerals that are available so as to attract the investments and create millions of jobs.
On the President’s trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ngelale said a very important agreement signed with the Kingdom is the establishment of the Nigeria-Saudi Council.
He explained that the council would bring top government functionaries and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of both nations to look at possible collaborations in the oil and gas sector and other fields.
He noted that the Saudi Aramco (the world’s topmost oil and gas company) is willing to help Nigeria with refinery rehabilitation, pipeline construction and world class hospitals among others
The presidential aide said the widely acclaimed integrity of President Buhari in the international community had attracted immense goodwill from which the country was now benefiting.
Ngelale maintained that the president’s foreign trips were not mere jamborees, saying they ensured that concrete agreements were contracted with the host countries that would help in developing some sectors of Nigeria’s economy.
“Those trips have been extremely productive.
“We are now benefiting from the goodwill of the president largely because of the fact that the world knows that this is an incorruptible leader, a leader with credibility and integrity, and Nigerians are now benefiting from that. So, this is something that has been exciting to us,” he said. (NAN)