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IAEA chief commences visit to Nigeria

The new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano has met Nigerian Vice President and discussed Nigeria's plans to develop its nuclear power plant.

world Updated: Dec 15, 2009 13:32 IST

The new head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano has met Nigerian Vice President and discussed Nigeria's plans to develop its nuclear power plant as he arrived here on his first official foreign trip.

Nigeria's Vice President Goodluck Jonathan told Amano about the country's energy demands which could be fulfilled by developing a nuclear power plant. If built, such a power plant would be the first in the sub-Saharan African country.

Jonathan spoke on behalf of the country's President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua who has been in a Saudi hospital for more than one month undergoing treatment for pericarditis.

Amano also met health minister Babatunde Osotimehin and discussed cooperation with Nigeria on cancer therapy. Osotimehin told Amno that $ 2 million funding has been released to the agency to expand Nuclear Medicine Services, upgrade and strengthen radiotherapy services in 10 tertiary hospitals.

"Our government is committed to the realisation of the cancer project within the shortest possible time and we wish to seek for your agency's assistance in the areas of periodic capacity building, cancer prevention education workshop and technical partnership." Amano described Nigeria as a "better partner" to IAEA in view of her leadership role and impact created in neighbouring African countries and the level of seriousness and commitment demonstrated in the fight against cancer.

The envoy who is visiting the country for the first time following his appointment promised to advocate support for Nigeria in the next Scientific Conference Agency with available technical support in capacity building and safety regulation of the use of the equipment from relevant agencies.

Nigeria at the 53rd IAEA General Conference had sought for Technical Cooperation between the IAEA and the International Cancer Center located in the country.