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Russian Embassy Visit Not Government Mission But Gesture Of Humanity, Fani-Kayode Clarifies 

“We went there as human beings, as friends of Russia,” Fani-Kayode said on visit to Russian embassy.

Following his condolence visit along with some former top government officials to the Russian embassy in Abuja, former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode said during an interview with ARISE NEWS that his visit was not on behalf of any Nigerian government, but was born from the need to show support for the victims of the atrocities demonstrated towards the people of Russia.

He began by speaking about the importance of his visit, underscoring the need to show solidarity with victims of atrocities, as demonstrated by their recent visit to the Russian ambassador after the tragic events at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow where 4 gunmen killed over 137 people.

“I think it’s important that if anybody on the planet earth is subjected to the kind of atrocities that the people of Moscow were, just the other day last week, I think it’s important that we stand with anybody no matter how we feel about them politically or otherwise and express our solidarity and our concern and our commiserations and condolences. That’s primarily the purpose for going to see the Russian ambassador, and they received us so warmly with great appreciation. These things happen all over the world and it’s not just started. It is very important. And I think it was a historic visit and it was much appreciated by the Russians.”

Fani-Kayode clarified that the visit to the Russian ambassador was not on behalf of any government, and is not an effort to try to move from the West to the East when it comes to relations, but rather as concerned individuals and friends of Russia. He emphasized that his personal ties to Russia motivated his visit.

“Well, we didn’t go there in any government capacity whatsoever. We didn’t go there to represent any government, least of all, the present federal government. And we weren’t asked to do that. We went there as human beings, as concerned Nigerians, as friends of Russia. All of us that went there are well acquainted with the Russian people and the Russian state. We all admire President Putin of Russia and we admire what Russia is doing on the African continent and indeed throughout the world. I have been a great supporter and friend of Russia since the war in Syria. So for me, for many many years, I have been close to the Russians and therefore it’s only natural for me to go there in my own capacity. All those that went also feel the same way about Russia.

“There were many people that would have gone. We limited it to just six people. I believe it’s fair to say that Russia is the new kid on the block on the African continent. And it doesn’t mean we’re moving away from anybody.”

Although the former minister of aviation said the visit was not an effort to move away from the West, he however criticized the Nigerian government’s close ties with the United States and Britain, saying that these relationships have been unfair to Nigeria.

“The Nigerian state and Nigerian government successively have been excessively close to the Americans and to the British, the former colonial masters and that in itself in my view has its own set of baggage. And the question is, have they been fair to us? In my view and this is just my own personal view, I speak for myself. I don’t think they have been too fair.”

In buttressing his opinion, he cited instances when these allies refused to offer help to Nigeria when it was in dire need of assistance.

“I’m not anti West. However, I am pro fairness and pro humanity and I’m pro equity and I can’t stand the concept of neo colonialism or imperialism. During the height of the war against Boko Haram, when President Jonathan was in power, we had a terrible experience whereby the American government led by Obama at the time, said clearly and categorically that they would not sell arms to us in our fight against Boko Haram. By that time, Boko haram had taken over probably half of the northeastern zone of Nigeria. We couldn’t get arms from the Americans. Not only that, they went as far as to say that no other country that was linked to them should sell us arms including the Israelis. Nobody would sell us arms. We had to resort to buying with cash from the black market to defend our people and defend our army.

“So, there you have a situation where our great friend, our allies from the West, America, the UK and all of them including France decided to ensure that we could not defend our people and defend ourselves. We were simply helping ourselves, but our allies, our lifelong friends, our former colonial masters in my view completely betrayed us.”

He further said that it would be naive to always look to the West for help in tackling terrorists if the terrorists were created by the West, suggesting that Nigeria reaches out to Russia, as he believes Russia is strong enough to provide the help we need.

“Now outside of Nigeria, again who is behind Boko Haram, who funds Boko Haram, who created Al Qaeda, who created ISIL, who created all these jihadist organizations? If the West created them and they are creating havoc, wreaking havoc all over the world and it is the West that created them, it really would be very naive to assume that we should always look to the West for help when we’re fighting.

“Russia is the only country in the world that has successfully fought against the jihadists, suppressed them, thrown them out and established a strong Muslim zone or strong Muslim province within their own country.

What’s happening here is that we have a situation whereby we are not being helped by our allies, traditional allies and it’s time for us to begin to reach out to other people who are ready to help to fight the enemy and put Nigeria right back up where it belongs.”

Melissa Enoch

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