Brasilia – In the drive to boost bilateral relations between Nigeria and Brazil, direct flights between the two countries would resume before the end of the year, Nigeria Deputy High Commissioner to Brazil Mohammed Sulaiman has said.
Sulaiman who broke the cheering news on Wednesday while briefing members of Rep. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje-led House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, who were in Brasilia on oversight function to the mission, said that the flight operations would also boost bilateral trade between the two countries. .
He said that the non-existence of direct flight between Nigeria and Brazil was a major disincentive to trade and
enhanced bilateral relations between the two countries.
The high commissioner said that the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between the two countries had long been revised, but its implementation was being delayed by the non-availability of carriers.
“In an effort to bring about air link between Nigeria and Brazil, the mission has over the last two years engaged in discussions with some Brazilian airline operators and Nigeria’s ARIK airlines to look at the possibility of reopening direct flights between the two countries taking advantage of the existing BASA agreement,’’ he said.
He said the efforts have started yielding positive result with a delegation from ARIK Airline led by its Vice President, Capt. Ado Sanusi holding discussions with the aviation officials of the host country with a view to ensuring the resumption of direct flights.
“The discussions were fruitful and it is hoped that flights would resume before the end of 2013,’’ he said.
Sulaiman said that there is need to encourage Nigerian private airlines to utilise the lucrative route to boost trade and investments between both countries.
He appealed to the lawmakers to put in place laws, legislations, policies and regulatory frameworks, to facilitate and promote bilateral cooperation and investments.
He said that from 2003 to 2012, the trade volume between the two countries,especially in crude oil exports from Nigeria had increased in favour of Nigeria.
Sulaiman called on the Parliamentarians to come to the aid of the mission by enacting pro-active legislations geared towards encouraging the signing of many pending draft instruments to enhance bilateral relationships.
Earlier, Rep. Nnenna Elendu–Ukeje commended the mission for its pro-activeness in attracting more investments to Nigeria.
She advised the mission to continue to raise Nigeria’s profile by updating information on investment opportunities on its website.
Other members of the committee in the entourage were Reps Sekonte Davies (PDP-Rivers), Zakari Muhammed (PDP-Kwara) and Patrick Ikhariale (PDP-Edo). (NAN)