The Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Nikolay Udovincheko, has said that the Russian Trade Mission to Nigeria will be reopened to promote trade and economic ties between the two countries.
Udovincheko stated this during a courtesy visit by the Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria, Mr Ima Niboro, to the Russian Embassy on Wednesday in Abuja.
The ambassador said the embassy was also working towards opening a cultural centre in Nigeria to promote cultural diplomacy between both countries.
He lauded the decision by NAN management to reopen its bureau in Moscow, and pledged to give “all the necessary and appropriate support” to help in achieving the Agency’s objective.
Udovincheko said Russia considered Nigeria to be a strategic partner in Africa because of its numerous opportunities in human and natural resources.
“Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and it needs objective and balanced information that promotes cooperation and harmony between different groups in the country and the international community,” he said.
The ambassador noted the occurrence of “distorted facts” in the reportage of some issues in Nigeria by some international media.
He also noted that the mass media play a major role in defining world politics, adding that Russia was keen on sustaining its cooperation with Nigeria in areas such as the media, culture and economy.
Udovincheko expressed the embassy’s willingness to facilitate renewal of the news exchange agreement between NAN and the Russian News Agency, Interfax, to promote issues of public and national interests.
He said that a crew from Russia Today, an international multilingual television network, would be in Nigeria soon to do a documentary on Nollywood, a key economic driver in the country.
On education, the Russian ambassador applauded the bilateral ties between the two countries in the sector which, he noted, had facilitated the training of hundreds of Nigerians in different fields in Russian universities.
“In 2014, 70 Nigerian students were invited to study in Russia on scholarship, and we are optimistic that after their programme they will return to Nigeria to contribute to the development of the country,” he said.
The ambassador said the embassy was also planning an exchange visit for Nigerian youths to Moscow to learn more about Russia.
He explained that the quantum of trade between the two countries remained less than $250m annually in spite of the fact that they had enjoyed cordial relations for over 50 years.
Earlier, Niboro told the ambassador that a key mandate of NAN is, “to report Nigeria to the world and the world to Nigeria”.
He said the agency’s planned reopening of a bureau in Moscow would go a long way in promoting economic and trade ties between both countries.
The NAN managing director urged the ambassador to use his good office and make sure Aeroflot, the largest airline of the Russian Federation, resumes direct flight to Nigeria.
Niboro expressed the optimism that direct flights to Nigeria from Moscow or other major cities in Russia would boost economic and trade relations between both countries.