By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria has signed a military-technical cooperation agreement with the Russian government, a statement from the Nigerian Embassy in Russia has said.
The deals will see the supply and servicing of military equipment, training of personnel as well as technology transfer.
According to the disclosure, Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Mr Bashir Magashi, led a delegation of top military officials to Russia on an official assignment.
He signed the agreement on Monday on behalf of the Nigerian government while Dmitry Shugaev, Director of the Federal Service for PliIitary-Technical Cooperation, signed on behalf of Russia.
The Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Mr Abdullahi Shehu, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Auwal Gambo, and representatives from the army and Air Force formed the Nigerian delegation at the signing ceremony.
The new pact marks the termination of the 20-year long similar agreement entered into by both countries on March 6, 2001.
This would be the third time in the last four years that the countries are collaborating as the Russian government signed military cooperation and trade agreements with Nigeria in 2017 and 2019.
The 2017 deal allowed Nigerian servicemen to be trained in Russia’s military educational establishments while both countries exchange peacekeeping experience in fighting piracy and terrorism.
In the 2019 agreement, the cooperation extended from military collaboration to oil and gas as well as rail development and trade, among others.
The contract, which was then signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit, also sought the advancement of a nuclear power plant in Nigeria.
Speaking after the recent signing this week, Mr Abdullahi Shehu expressed appreciation to the Russian authorities, reiterating that Nigeria was not looking for alternatives but for complementarity and mutual benefits.
On his part, while declaring open the 7th International military-technical Forum – Army 2021, President Vladimir Putin of Russia stated that contracts for the supply of Russian military equipment had been concluded.
“Massive mutually beneficial portfolios of contracts for the supply of Russian military goods are concluded on the forum’s sidelines every year.
“The forum has on display over 28,000 units of modern military arms and equipment ranging from small firearms to artillery, tanks, and military combat aircraft.
“Our army and navy are being modernised at a fast pace as they receive the latest-generation military assets. For example, the share of modern weapons in the strategic nuclear forces is over 80 per cent now.
“This is more than in other nuclear countries,” he said.
Mr Putin also projected the creation and improvement of combat capabilities of the advanced military equipment, such as the Kinzhal hypersonic air-launched missile system and the Okhotnik long-range unmanned aircraft were making progress.
“The agreement on military-technical Cooperation between both countries provides a legal framework for the supply of military equipment, provision of after-sales services, training of personnel in respective educational establishments, and technology transfer, among others.
“The signing of the Military-Technical Cooperation Agreement is a landmark development in the bilateral relations between Nigeria and the Russian Federation,” he said.
Welders Association Plan Protest Over PH Refinery Exclusion
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Association of Welders and Fitters in Nigeria has issued an ultimatum to the management of the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC), requesting to be included in the ongoing rehabilitation of the oil facility or face mass protest.
During a peaceful protest at Eleme Council Secretariat, the group said the management has till Thursday to grant their request, expressing displeasure over their alleged non-inclusion in the ongoing rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery.
The President of the Eleme branch of the organisation, Mr Innocent Ejire, said welders and fitters in the area are pained that the management of PHRC excluded them from jobs at the ongoing rehabilitation of the refinery.
Mr Ejire called on the management of PHRC to adhere to the Local Content Act by engaging its members, accusing the management of the refinery of giving jobs to welders from outside while sidelining those who are members of the PHRC’s host community.
“Out of 150 welders and fitters they (refinery) have taken, they have not taken anyone from our community but elsewhere like in Bonny and Omoku; NLNG contractors must give jobs to Ibani Welders and Fitters Association.
“Welders in Bonny and Omoku pass through these associations to get jobs in the companies operated there.
“But here they say no host community will work and since we cannot take the law into our hands. That is why we say let’s come and see our LGA Chairman and give them an ultimatum of 48 hours, if they don’t call us to work, we will meet at the refinery.
“We have written a series of letters which they (refinery) have acknowledged but they continue to turn us back and forth without giving us favourable response,” he said.
Similarly, the spokesperson of the association, Mr Daniel Omekea, urged the council chairman to ensure that the management of the refinery implements the Local Content Act by engaging local welders in the ongoing rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt refinery.
He regretted that Eleme, being the host community of the Port Harcourt refinery has continually been sidelined by the refinery, warning that they will resist all attempts to exclude them from benefiting from jobs at the refinery.
He also said welders and fitters under the association in Eleme are well trained and have what it takes to participate in the refinery’s rehabilitation.
“Many of us were tested and qualified for the jobs, but they did not call us for the jobs.
“There are no welding and fitting jobs we cannot do; we have worked on Shell pipelines and every other pipeline here in Eleme, so it’s not about competence.”
Responding, the Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr Obarilomate Ollor, promised to look into the complaints of aggrieved welders and fitters.
Mr Ollor assured that the council would initiate a meeting with the management of the refinery towards resolving the matter.
NGA Calls for Multiple Approach to Energy Transition
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) has called for a multidimensional approach to energy transition in Africa amid the lingering global energy crisis and increased calls for the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions.
NGA cautioned that Africa needs to be cautious and consider all the pertinent issues in transitioning from fossil fuel to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.
According to the National Publicity Secretary of the association, Mr Odianosen Masade, fossil transition in developed economies has been going on for over a century, whilst Africa was expected to transition over a few decades.
“Africa accounts for the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions, at just 3.8 per cent, in contrast to 23 per cent in China, 19 per cent in the United States, and 13 per cent in the European Union.
“Africa is also the least industrialized of all the continents in the world, yet one of the most vulnerable to climate change,” he noted.
Mr Masade, who is the Corporate Communications Lead at Eroton Exploration & Production Company, also provided insights into challenges inhibiting Nigeria from maximizing the opportunities presented by the conflict in Ukraine, which has reduced the global supply of gas.
He disclosed that the lack of political will, as well as Nigeria’s lack of critical infrastructure, were some of the greatest reasons for Nigeria’s disadvantaged position.
“One such infrastructure that would have generated significant income for the country is the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline, which will traverse Nigeria, Niger and Algeria across the Sahara desert to Europe.
“It is estimated that once completed, the $13 billion pipeline would transport up to 30 billion cubic meters (1 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas per annum from Warri in Nigeria, through Niger and Algeria on to Europe,” he stated.
In July, the oil ministers of the three countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and agreed to set up a task force for the project with the aim of updating an existing feasibility study.
The idea to pipe gas across the Sahara to Europe was first conceived more than 40 years ago. In 2009, an agreement was signed by the three gas-rich countries, but progress has stalled since then.
TSGP, also known as the NIGAL pipeline, may now move closer to becoming reality as Europe attempts to cut its strong dependency on Russian gas.
IGP Authorises Stop & Search, Raids, Others to Tackle Crime
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of adequate security around schools, hospitals, and critical national infrastructures across the country.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, said the IGP has also ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality in some states of the federation.
“The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered the deployment of water-tight security arrangements to cover all schools, hospitals, health workers, and critical national infrastructures around the country,” the statement added.
“The IGP has equally ordered regular patrols, stop and search, raids, and show of force by tactical commanders to clamp down on pockets of crime and criminality recorded in some states of the federation,” it further said.
Mr Baba gave the directive while reviewing the reports he received from various commands and formations on the general security situations across the country.
He tasked strategic police managers at various levels to prioritize the use of intelligence gathering networks while charging officers and men of the force to take the fight against crime to the doorsteps of suspected criminal elements with a view to flushing them from their hideouts.
The IGP also called for the cooperation of members of the public, warning police officers to be civil, professional, and humane in the course of discharging their duties.
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