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Nigeria looks to Russia for help in eliminating Boko Haram insurgents

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The Nigerian government has requested the cooperation of Russia to eliminate the Boko Haram insurgents from Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin countries.

Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, who made the appeal on Wednesday, 24 April 2019, at the 8th Moscow Conference on International Security, also requested for Russia’s cooperation in securing the maritime domain of the Gulf of Guinea.

The minister said in a speech, made available to journalists in Abuja, that Russia’s experience in counter-terrorism operations was required to bring the scourge of terrorism by Boko Haram group to an end.

“Military and technical assistance in this respect will be highly appreciated,” the minister said, adding that its cooperation in critical infrastructural development, especially the modernisation of Nigeria’s military arsenal was needed.

“It is the intention of Nigeria to leverage on Russia’s support to attain technological emancipation of our Military Industrial Complex and training of Nigerians, especially in medicine, science and technology,” he said.

Dan-Ali expressed concern over the rise in terrorism and insurgency in the continent with specific reference to Boko Haram in Lake Chad Basin countries, Al-Shabaab in Somalia/Kenya, and Islamic State in Mali.

He said those “non-state actors tend to undermine the monopoly of the state over the use of coercive instruments of power as a result of widespread proliferation of small arms and light weapons.”

According to him, since 2009, Nigeria has been combating terrorism engendered by an Islamic Sect called Boko Haram and that the members of the sect have carried out series of bombings of public places and killed many innocent citizens.

“The group has over the years been receiving inspiration, training as well as mutual support from other transnational terror groups within and outside Africa.

“Nonetheless, owing to the sustained counter insurgency operations by Nigeria and other countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission which include Benin, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, the Boko Haram terror network has been overwhelmed and the leadership structure is presently decimated,” he said.

The minister expressed gratitude to the Russian government for its numerous training and scholarships, which have been of immense benefit to Nigerians over the years, as well as recent military hardware procurement initiative.

On the Gulf of Guinea, the minister that said Russia’s assistance was needed to curb the incidences of sea robbery, piracy on the seas, hijacking of ships and other ocean-going vessels.

He said adequate policing of the waterways of the gulf would combat large scale pollution, impair incidence of illegal dumping of toxic or radioactive wastes.

Dan-Ali said the pervasive security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea included piracy and armed robbery against ships in the region.

On trade relations between Nigeria and Russia, the minister noted that at the moment both countries’ trade ties are lopsided in favour of Russia.

“Russia is the biggest market in Europe, while Nigeria is the biggest market in Africa.The trade relations have been below expectation leaving gap for many unexploited potentials.

“Nigeria will also be interested in Russia helping to build nuclear power plants, petroleum pipelines, railways and other infrastructural development investments in oil and gas sector,” the minister added.




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