By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday night arrived Russia for a three-day Russia-Africa Summit scheduled to commence on Wednesday in Sochi.
The presidential aircraft conveying him touched down at the Sochi lairport at exactly 11: 25 pm local time and he was received by the Mayor of the City of Sochi, Anatoliy Nikolayevich Pakhomov and state officials, a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said.
Buhari is scheduled to address the gathering which will host no fewer than 35 African heads of government on Thursday, according to Shehu.
The focus of the summit, according to an earlier statement issued by Shehu on Sunday, is on exploring and expanding opportunities in security, trade and investment, science and technology, and gas production.
During the summit, President Buhari will meet with President Vladimir Putin of Russia to further strengthen relations in security, trade and investment, and building partnership that will enhance Nigeria’s huge gas potential, following Russia’s remarkable success in gas exportation, the statement had said.
The summit, which will be attended by African Heads of State, will bring fresh perspectives on some global issues and challenges like nuclear technology, energy development, digital transformation, environment, technical security, mining and steel, education, agriculture, infrastructure and development strategies, Shehu had noted in the statement.
The statement further stated that an African Business Forum, which will bring together African and Russian business leaders, will be held during the event to enhance Russian investments in Africa, and promote African business interest in the host country.
“It is important that this meeting is taking place at this time,’’ says the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Shehu.
“All the big economies are picking stronger interest in Africa. We now have US-Africa Summit, India-Africa Summit, China-Africa Summit and Japan-Africa Summit, so Russia has signified its interest for political, cultural and economic partnership.
“Nigeria has had an excellent relationship with Russia over the years. We will not forget how the country assisted us in keeping Nigeria as one during the civil war when some of our traditional allies deserted us.
“They have also stood behind us in the fight against terrorism, Boko Haram and ISWA, and Russia has demonstrated its capacity in gas production, a resource which Nigeria has a huge potential of utilising,’’ he added.
Shehu said the summit will look into issues of sustainable energy, mines and steel, infrastructure development in Africa, nuclear energy and trade and investment.
On security, the Senior Special Assistant said the meeting will come up with proposals for a security architecture that will be heavily driven by new technology.
President Buhari is being accompanied by Governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State, Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.
Others on the trip are: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite and Minister of State, Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.