Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has stated that the existence of Nigeria-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry will help consolidate the long lasting relationship and promote business opportunities between both countries.
This, he said, was possible going by the mutual diplomatic relations between both countries which dates back to the 1960s.
Osinbajo made the observation on Monday, when he played host to a delegation of the Nigeria-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by its President, Chief Obiora Okonkwo, at the State House, Abuja.
The delegation also included representation from the Russian government, including a special envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Mr. Oleg Ozerov and the country’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Alexey Shebarshim.
The vice president said: “I think there is a need to formalise and to have the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. There is a need for that to happen so that we are better able to build upon what has taken place in the years gone by. This is a very unique opportunity for us to do really good work and to strengthen relations between our countries.
“After a very extensive period of collaboration between both countries, frankly, I was quite surprised that we don’t already have a Nigeria-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I assumed that such a body already existed. It is never too late to do a good thing. This is an auspicious time to do so, especially given all of the economic opportunities before us.”
Recalling a previous meeting of African leaders and Russian business executives in 2019, Osinbajo noted that the interaction was an introduction to serious business for African countries with Russia. He said the Heads of State who attended felt it was a unique opportunity to do more serious business with Russia.
According to him: “There have been very many economic and social engagements, especially in education. I think also that there have been several economic relationships that have blossomed for a while and several other business and commercial opportunities that are opening up here and there.”
He reiterated the support of the federal government to ensure that the Chamber of Commerce is inaugurated soon to, “works for the benefit of Nigerian businesses and Russian investors and business people.”
Earlier in his speech, the leader of the delegation, Okonkwo, said the visit of the Russian delegation to the country and the courtesy call on the VP was a prelude to the formal inauguration of the Nigeria-Russia Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said the effort was aimed at improving the already existing relations between both countries across different sectors including commerce and business, and exploring new opportunities in technology and infrastructure.
On his part, the representative of the Russian government, Ozerov said the formalisation of the pact between Nigeria and Russia was prompted by the need to strengthen relations between both countries especially in the areas of energy, ICT, agriculture, and infrastructure, among others.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja