President Buhari said yesterday that Russia is a partner because it is “visibly helping” Nigeria in all the priority areas of his government, including security, economy and the fight against corruption. Buhari, who said this at a panel discussion on the second day of the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, was responding to a question posed to the discussants if Russia is now the new best friend of Africa.
The president joined President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya in a plenary session to discuss “What’s next for Africa? How will investment and trade transform the continent into the next great economic success story?” He thanked Russia which he added had remained a committed development partner to Nigeria, recounting its support during the country’s civil war.
“Those who focus on the progress of developing countries would see what Russia right from its days as the Soviet Union had done for us. We will never forget that we went over our civil war with the help of Russia and since then politically and economically, the Russians are helping Nigeria in so many ways,” he said in a statement by Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity. President Buhari, who said new investments and reforms in the agriculture sector in Nigeria hold the key to the target of his government to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years, stressed his government’s resolve to actualise his promise to reduce poverty in Nigeria.
The president, who spoke on poverty reduction in Nigeria, pointed to the vigorous implementation of key reforms of his administration in the farming and agricultural sector including soft loans to farmers, availability and affordability of farming inputs and restrictions on food imports grown locally, as some measures that have encouraged agriculture revolution in Nigeria.