The Managing Director of Med-View Airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, has called for more integration among member countries of the Economic Community For West African States (ECOWAS).
Newsmen report that Bankole made the call on Friday during the airline’s inaugural flight operations to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire; Conakry, Guinea; and Dakar in Senegal.
Bankole noted that the expansion of scheduled flight operations from Lagos to the three Francophone countries would strengthen bilateral cooperation between them and Nigeria.
He said that the improvement in Nigeria’s connectivity with African countries was in line with the Yamoussoukro Decision which was formally adopted during the Assembly of Heads of State in Lome, Togo, in July 2000.
Bankole said : “We are in seven countries already in West Africa. Our coming here is a big testimony to show the brotherliness of the ECOWAS community.
“This is the dream set by the founding fathers of ECOWAS and the essence of this community is to integrate everybody as one family.
“ECOWAS can become a force to be highly respected if we integrate and maximise our abundant potentialities.
“We are here to strengthen Nigeria’s relationship with your country and we thank your government for allowing Med-View to come into your country. ”
He assured the respective governments that the three weekly flights to be operated into their countries would be in accordance with the recommended safety and security practices.
According to him, the airline had deployed a modern B737-800 aircraft to service the Lagos- Abidjan- Conakry – Dakar route to give comfort to the passengers.
Receiving the airline delegation at the Abidjan International Airport, the President of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr Alhassan Quattara, lauded the relationship between the country and Nigeria.
Quattara, who was represented by the General Manager of the Ivorian Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Silue Sinaly, noted that the country would give the necessary support to the airline to ensure its operation was sustained.
Also speaking, Mr Bodewole Adebowale, representing the Nigerian Embassy in Cote d’ Ivoire, said the over one million Nigerians in the country were delighted with the airline’s coming.
At the Conakry International Airport, President Alpha Conde, represented by the Director of Guinean Civil Aviation, Mr Mamady Kaba, welcomed the delegation.
Conde, who is the current Chairman of the African Union, said air transportation was very important for socio-economic development and thanked Med-View for improving connectivity within the region.
On their parts, the Guinean Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Gaossou Toure and his Nigerian counterpart, Mr Bala Maringa, said strategic partnership between both countries would be boosted by the ease of connectivity.
In Senegal, President Micky Sall, represented by the Senegalese Ambassador to Nigeria, Habibou Damn, also lauded the airline for extending operations to the country.