From Uche Usim (Abuja) and Chinelo Obogo
Following the approval of the Federal Executive Council of the Memorandum on signing and ratification of Air Service Agreement between Nigeria and the Republic of Seychelles, the two countries have formerly ratified the agreement.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, using the platform of the ongoing International Civil Aviation Negotiation (ICAN) event holding in Abuja, led officials of the Ministry to sign Bilateral Air Services Agreement ( BASA) while the Republic of Seychelles Minister of Transport, Mr. Anthony Derjacques, signed on behalf of his country.
During the ceremony, the two Ministers underscored the importance of the BASA as it will promote air services and connectivity between both countries, enhance business, and promote tourism. They both agreed that the signing would further promote the African Union Agenda 2063 and called on citizens of both countries to latch on the opportunities of the BASA for their mutual benefits.
The Minister of Aviation also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and initial Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Senegal, Benin Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Finland, Cameroon, Morocco, Suriname, India, Sudan and Uganda and has also had discussions on how to further implement the open skies Agreement, signed 30 years ago, with the United States of America.
In the same vein, Sirika, has restated the nation’s commitment to the ideals of ICAO even as the global aviation community comes together to celebrate the 2022 International Civil Aviation Day.
According to Sirika, the theme for International Civil Aviation Day 2022 which is, “Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development” aligns with the belief of the Nigerian government that Aviation is a channel to achieving the development of other sectors as it remains the fastest and safest mode of domestic and international movement.
This belief, he says, has informed Government’s commitment to the development of the sector for which it developed a roadmap at the inception of the Buhari administration. The implementation of the roadmap has led to a number of record-breaking achievements in the nation’s aviation industry which have been variously acknowledged and applauded by ICAO.
“Globally, it is a well-known fact that aviation doubles every fifteen years but in the case of Nigeria, it has more than doubled and in another fifteen years, it will quadruple.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics, aviation became the fastest growing sector of the economy pre-covid and during covid, the third fastest growing sector and after covid, according to Airport Council International, ACI, we are at a 111 percent of pre-covid numbers. Apart from Colombia, we are the only country on earth that recovered so fast, and we have added even 11percent of pre-covid numbers,” he said.
These statistics, according to Sirika, reinforce the continuous commitment of Nigeria to the ideals and aspirations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation whose regulations have continued to guide the industry in ensuring the safety records that the country has established.
The Minister, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, congratulated the President of the ICAO Council, Salvatore Siacchitano and members of the global aviation community presently in the country for the ICAN22 event on the Day and hopes that Nigeria will continue to have the privilege of hosting more ICAO events in the future.
The purpose of International Civil Aviation Day is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of States, and of the unique role of ICAO in helping States to cooperate and realise a truly global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind.