Friday, June 19, 2009
Nigeria to go nuclear
DATELINE: Abuja. The Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s administration in Nigeria might have finally decided to take the bulls by the horn by deciding to acquire nuclear capabilities for various peaceful purposes, especially for the nation’s intractable power sector.
Zumarockreports.com has been reliably informed by inside sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that President Yar’Adua and President Dimitri Medvedev of Russia will in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, on June 24, initial an agreement for the provision of nuclear technology to Nigeria.
President Medvedev who will be in Nigeria as part of an African business trip is expected to arrive here with about 300 prospective investors on his entourage will also initial other agreements with Nigerian officials.
A formal hint to Nigeria’s decision to acquire nuclear technology was dropped by the Minister of National Planning, Shamsudeen Usman, last week when he announced that Nigeria and 16 other African countries may soon start power generation from nuclear plants, under a power base diversification program being backed by the Austria-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), adding that already IAEA has organized a regional training program for personnel from countries participating in the project.
President Medvedev’s historic visit to Nigeria will be the first time a Russian head of state would be visiting Africa. The trip will also take him to Angola, Namibia and Egypt.
Informed sources have told our correspondent that apart from the nuclear deal, another important reason for the Russian leader’s visit would be to seal agreements for the Russian involvement in Nigeria’s gas and petroleum sector through its giant Gazprom, which, as is being speculated may replace Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria.
Nigeria may have decided to terminate its contract with the Anglo-Dutch company for the development of an oil and gas deposit in the Ogoniland region of the Niger Delta, even after the company has made a huge pay-out to the Ogoni people for years of environmental degradation suffered by the communities.
Zumarockreports.com also learnt that Shell abandoned the fields, which hold proven reserves of over 10 trillion cubic meters (353 trillion cubic feet) of gas, 15 years ago after its relations with the Ogoni people reached its nadir, to the extent that Ogonis vowed to ensure that Shell never sets its feet on Ogoniland.
A hint to the possible involvement of the Russian energy giant, Gazprom in Nigeria’s booming energy sector was dropped about one year ago in South Africa by President Yar’Adua himself when he announced that, "by the end of the year another oil operator will take over Shell Petroleum interests in Ogoniland."
Earlier this year, Gazprom had confirmed negotiating a seven-billion dollar contract for offshore gas exploration with the Nigerian government. Earlier this month, Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller, who will be on Medvedev’s delegation to Africa had met with the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Tanimu Yakubu, the chief economic adviser to the president, to discuss the details of the cooperation.