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Press Release: PRESIDENT BUHARI, PUTIN AGREE TO STRENGTHEN NIGERIA-RUSSIA RELATION

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President Muhammadu Buhari and Russian President, Vladimir Putin Wednesday in Sochi, Russia, agreed to put Nigeria-Russia relations on a fast track, and pursue the completion of partially completed and abandoned projects initiated by both countries.

PRESIDENT BUHARI, PUTIN AGREE TO STRENGTHEN NIGERIA-RUSSIA RELATION

At a bilateral meeting held on sidelines of ongoing Russia-Africa Summit, the two leaders agreed to start new infrastructure projects and expand trade and investment, security and military cooperation.

In 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, in a way that will see to 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 will work towards prospection of oil in deep offshore.

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.

PRESIDENT BUHARI, PUTIN AGREE TO STRENGTHEN NIGERIA-RUSSIA RELATION

Earlier in the day, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Arch Olamilekan Adegbite had a very fruitful discussion with his counterpart in Russia on Ajaokuta.

The Russia government agreed to support development of Nigeria’s rail infrastructure by constructing 1,400 kilometres track from Lagos to the South-South city of Calabar.

There was also discussion on the advancement of ongoing project for the establishment of a nuclear power plant in Nigeria. According to President Putin, the next step in the implementation of the project should be the commencement of construction of a power plant.

On security and military cooperation, one that existed for fifty-nine years of Nigeria’s independence, President Buhari agreed to renew Nigeria-Russia Military Technical Agreement that had lapsed within a short time, saying: “I have directed the Minister of Defence to work with the Ministry of Justice to conclude this matter within the shortest possible time.”

This military cooperation agreement is expected to give impetus to further cooperation in direct procurement of military hardware on a government-to-government basis at a lower cost as well as training of military personnel and modernization of armed forces and renewal of infrastructure and equipment which President Putin promised to undertake.

On protracted issue of the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria, ALSCON, Ikot-Abasi, Akwa-Ibom State, President Buhari said that he had asked the Ministry of Justice, “to submit a comprehensive report on the UC Russel (the Russian owners of the plant) matter…I want to assure you that the aim of our reforms is to ensure such investments are concluded and actualized in a professional and painless manner.”

The two Presidents also addressed partnership in education and agriculture. The Russia leader said they would give additional scholarships to Nigerians.

“We seek your Government’s support especially in the areas of wheat production. Today, Nigeria produces less than one hundred thousand metric tons of wheat locally while our imports are projected to exceed five million tons in 2020.

“We therefore need your support to bridge the deficit which will create jobs and save our foreign exchange for other important areas like security, defence and infrastructure,” President Buhari said.

On this, President Putin promised to promote joint efforts, given his country’s ranking as the current number one wheat producer in the world.

“We can do a lot together,” Putin added.

The Russian President said Nigeria should take advantage of Russia’s potassium resources to advance President Buhari’s local fertiliser production program. Putin promised his country’s support for the geological prospection of Nigeria’s solid minerals and gave assurances of working with Nigeria and other African countries to secure and stop the incidents of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea as they did in securing the Somali coastal areas.

President Putin expressed further determination to secure Nigeria and the rest of Africa from terrorists. He told President Buhari that 2,000 ex-ISIS terrorists joined Boko Haram last year.

In conclusion, President Buhari said:
“ to move forward, may I suggest that our countries organize the fifth Joint Commission meeting to review and ratify all the agreements (about 40) contained in the Intergovernmental Nigeria-Russia Joint Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Protocol of November 11, 2016.”

President Putin agreed to the proposal.

Both leaders emphasized the need for reform of United Nations Security Council. President Buhari asked Russia to support Nigeria’s aspiration for a permanent membership of the council.

Garba Shehu
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
October 23, 2019

thenewscap
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the newscap

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Iran defies US sanction, sends five fuel tankers to Venezuela!

he news breaking at this hour is that the Iranian regime sent five Oil tankers to deliver a much-needed fuel to Venezuela. The report has it that one of the vessels entered the Venezuelan waters, a moment ago.

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Hassan Rouhan

The news breaking at this hour is that the Iranian regime sent five Oil tankers to deliver much-needed gasoline to Venezuela. The report has it that one of the vessels entered the Venezuelan waters, a moment ago.

The oil tanker Fortune encountered no signs of US interference as it eased through Caribbean waters toward the Venezuelan coast late on Saturday. Venezuelan officials celebrated the arrival.

In a tweet, the Venezuelan foreign minister Jorge Arreaza said, “Iran and Venezuela have always supported each other in times of difficulty,” “Today, the first ship with gasoline arrives for our people.”

Hassan Rouhan
Hassan Rouhan

 Hassan Rouhani, had earlier warned of retaliatory measures, should the Trump administration takes any action, that would impede the deliveries. The story is still developing. Please expect more updates.

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Fact Checks’: Medical journal refutes Trump’s claims about the WHO

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Trump and WhO

A British medical journal Tuesday rebutted claims by President Donald Trump that the World Health Organization had consistently ignored reports of the virus spreading in China in early December, including ones featured in its publication.

In a letter published Monday, Trump’s excoriated WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, saying the organization had “failed to independently investigate credible reports that conflicted directly with the Chinese government’s official accounts.”

“This statement is factually incorrect,” The Lancet, a general medical journal, responded in a statement. “The Lancet published no report in December 2019, referring to a virus or outbreak in Wuhan or anywhere else in China.”

The journal said the first reports it published were on January 24, adding that the scientists and physicians who led one of the studies were all from Chinese institutions.

“They worked with us to quickly make information about this new epidemic outbreak and the disease it caused fully and freely available to an international audience,” the statement said.

A second Lancet paper, also published on January 24, described the first scientific evidence confirming person-to-person transmission of the new virus, according to the journal. This report included scientists and physicians from Hong Kong and mainland China, it added.

The Lancet said allegations leveled against WHO in Trump’s letter were “serious and damaging” to efforts to strengthen international cooperation to control this pandemic.

“It is essential that any review of the global response is based on a factually accurate account of what took place in December and January,” the publication added.

Trump’s letter came as tensions ran high at the WHO’s general assembly Monday, with calls for an independent inquiry of the health body’s handling of the crisis and further criticism from the U.S. delegation.

Some observers say the WHO was far too credulous in believing Beijing’s reassurances, which it then amplified uncritically to the wider world.

In his letter, Trump also accused WHO of “missteps” and threatened to make the freeze on U.S. funding for the organization permanent.

Trump’s letter, which was posted to his Twitter account and cane during the World Health Assembly, accused the organization of an “alarming lack of independence from the People’s Republic of China.”

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190,000 Africans may die of COVID-19 in 2020 – WHO

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On Thursday, the World Health Organisation warned that Africa could lose up to 190,000 lives to COVID-19 in 2020 if containment measures fail.

The UN health agency cited a new study by its regional office in Brazzaville which found that between 83,000 and 190,000 could die and 29 to 44 million be infected during the period.

The research is based on prediction modelling and covers 47 countries with a total population of one billion, the WHO said in a statement.

“The model predicts the observed slower rate of transmission, lower age of people with severe disease and lower mortality rates compared to what is seen in the most affected countries in the rest of the world,” the statement said.

“The lower rate of transmission, however, suggests a more prolonged outbreak over a few years.”

WHO Africa Director Matshidiso Moeti said that “while COVID-19 likely won’t spread as exponentially in Africa as it has elsewhere in the world, it likely will smoulder in transmission hotspots”. 

“COVID-19 could become a fixture in our lives for the next several years unless a proactive approach is taken by many governments in the region,” he added. “We need to test, trace, isolate and treat.”

Smaller countries as well as Algeria, South Africa and Cameroon were at exceptionally high risk unless effective containment measures were in force, the WHO said.

Africa has so far recorded 53,334 cases and 2,065 fatalities – out of a global death toll of nearly 267,000 -according to an AFP tally.

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Uber Cuts 3,700 Jobs

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Uber cuts 3,700 jobs amid a massive slump in its ride-hailing operations during the pandemic.

The cuts amount to around 14 percent of Uber’s global workforce, which does not include its contract drivers.

The company announced a regulatory filing, which also said chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi would waive his base salary for the remainder of the year.

The move comes a day ahead of Uber’s earnings report and follows a 17 percent staff cut by its US rival Lyft.

“Today’s cost-cutting move ahead of tomorrow’s earnings is a painful, but unfortunately a necessary, move for Dara & co. to make in this unprecedented COVID-19 environment,” said Daniel Ives at Wedbush Securities.

“On the other side of this dark valley, the Uber business model will likely look a lot different for the next few years (at least), and the company must rationalize costs and a smaller operation to focus on attaining profitability in this ‘new normal’ backdrop.”

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