Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has revealed how Russia helped Nigeria defeat the Biafra warlords during the nation’s civil war between 1967 and 1970.
Buhari spoke in his speech at the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia on Thursday.
Buhari said Nigeria’s relationship with Russia began in 1960 with the old Soviet Union, saying that Russia helped Nigeria with military assistance during the civil war against the Biafran forces.
“Nigeria’s relations with Russia just like the rest of Africa began during the Soviet era when diplomatic relations were first established in 1960. That relationship covered areas such as education, healthcare, solid minerals development and military assistance, especially during Nigeria’s civil war.
“More recently, our partnership has extended to the oil and gas sector as well as military and technical assistance in support of our fight against Boko Haram insurgency. At this point, I would once again like to thank His Excellency, President Putin for his support, especially in the area of security.
“It is my hope that through this forum, Russia and Africa will revitalize their time-tested relationship by exploring new opportunities for the collective benefit of our peoples,” he said.
Buhari said since the collapse of the USSR in 1991, relations between Russia and African nations had lagged a historical levels, saying that the former Soviet Union had been a key partner of Africa, while recalling the strong support received from the former Soviet Union in Africa’s anti-colonial struggles, stressing that Africa would continue to remember this, and many other significant gestures of solidarity and support that shaped history as a continent.
He added that in an increasingly changing world driven by trade, technology and innovation, the time had come to inject new energy and pragmatism in Africa-Russia relations for the mutual benefit of both Africa and Russia, emphasising that this mutually beneficial relationship must go beyond trade and business.