Russia has demanded the release of seven its crewmen detained in Nigeria since October 2012 for allegedly carrying arms and ammunition on board MV Myre Seadiver.
This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by the Russian Embassy in Abuja.
The statement said Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, made the demand during a meeting with Nigeria’s acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwuliri.
It said the two ministers met on the sidelines of the ongoing 68th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, United States of America.
The statement said: “The discussion was focused on the topical issues of bilateral relations in political, commercial, economic and other spheres.
“Foreign Minister Lavrov emphasised the necessity to release seven Russian crewmen of the MV Myre Seadiver in the nearest time, and Onwuliri vowed to facilitate the release in every possible way.”
The Nigerian Navy arrested the vessel belonging to Moscow-based consortium, Moran Group, on October 20, 2012.
The vessel was reportedly flying a Netherland flag at the time of its arrest.
The naval authorities had confirmed that it recovered 14 Ak 47 assault rifles with 3,643 rounds of ammunition from the vessel.
Also seized from the crewmen were 22 Benelli Barret riffles, MR 120 riffles with 4,955 rounds of ammunition.
On Tuesday, President Goodluck Jonathan used the occasion of his address at UNGA to highlight the serious threat posed by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Africa.
Jonathan told the international community that the proliferation of small arms in the sub-region had worsened insecurity in the area.