The Nigerian federal government has reiterated its commitment to supporting domestic airlines, particularly in the realm of international partnerships. This assurance was conveyed by Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace, represented by Mr. Hassan Ejibunu, Director of Air Transport Management, at an event organized by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda. The gathering celebrated the launch of direct flights between Nigeria and the Caribbean nation by Air Peace Airline. A press release by Odutayo Oluseyi, Head of Press and Public Affairs, documented the government’s stance.

Dr. Meribole emphasized the government’s dedication to crafting and implementing policies that enable Nigerian airlines to harness the benefits of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA), a framework governing air travel between Nigeria and other nations. He commended Air Peace for its pioneering achievement, marking a significant milestone for both countries that share a common ancestry. Dr. Meribole expressed optimism that the venture would enhance bilateral ties in commerce, trade, and tourism. He also acknowledged the approval of Air Peace by Nigerian Aeronautical Authorities to operate the Nigerian-Antiguan route.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Mr. Gaston Browne, heralded the new phase in relations between Nigeria and his country. Browne emphasized the ancestral linkages between the Caribbean and Africa, referring to the latter as the “Motherland.” The Prime Minister invited members of Nigeria’s business community and potential investors to capitalize on his government’s favorable economic policies and invest in Antigua and Barbuda. Browne unveiled plans for a collaborative venture with Air Peace to establish an airline, LIAT 2020, that will facilitate stress-free air connectivity between Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas.

Ambassador Bolaji Akinremi, representing Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the significance of the event in forging a fresh and fond relationship between Antigua and Barbuda and the entire Caribbean region. Akinremi aligned the air connectivity initiative with President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s foreign policy, aimed at integrating the economies of African nations.

Akinremi further underscored the integral role of Caribbean countries in Africa, considering them as the fifth bloc. He committed to fostering the burgeoning relationship by facilitating bilateral meetings between the business communities of both nations.

The event, attended by Nigerian business representatives, dignitaries from Antigua and Barbuda, and Chief Allen Onyeama, Chairman of Air Peace, marked a significant stride towards strengthening diplomatic and economic ties between the two regions.

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