January 28, 2023

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OPEN SKIES AGREEMENT: Nigeria in talks with the United States

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The Federal Government of Nigeria, FGN, has commenced a very high-powered discussion with the government of the United States of America, USA, on how to extend frontiers of the Open Skies agreement signed 30 years ago, among the two sovereign states.

The Ministry of Aviation led by the Minister, Sen Hadi Sirika, superintend over the discussion which came up on the sideline of the ongoing International Civil Aviation Negotiation (ICAN) conference holding in Abuja.

Although details about the specifics of the open skies discussion with the US are still kept in a wrap, but the aviation ministry had confirmed that Sen Hadi Sirika “led officials of the Ministry to sign Bilateral Air Services Agreement, ( BASA), with the Republic of Seychelles”.

According to a media statement from the ministry, the signing of BASA with Seychelles was a sequel to “the approval of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, of the Memorandum on signing and ratification of Air Services Agreement between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Seychelles, the two countries have formally ratified the Agreement”, the statement said.

The media statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Minister, James Odaudu, said Sen Hadi Sirika signed the BASA agreement on behalf of Nigeria’s government, “while for the Republic of Seychelles, Minister of Transport, Mr. Anthony Derjacques, signed on behalf of his country”.

AVIATION DAY CELEBRATION: In complete babariga traditional attire is ICAO President, Salvatore Sciachitano, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, DG, Nigeria CAA, Capt Musa Nuhu, Dr Olumuyiwa Aliu and wife, and other dignitaries cutting the cake to mark the occasion in Abuja, 7th December 2022.

The statement said, “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”.

It further said that ”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 Ministry in the statement claimed it had either signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), or initial Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Senegal, Benin Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Finland, Cameroon, Morocco, Suriname, India, Sudan, and Uganda.

The inescapable fact is that no nation that knows its onion, and with a resolve to nurture its economy to greatness had ever followed hook, line, and sinker, the letters, and the spirit in the open skies agreement.

Recall that about a decade ago, the US government attempted full implementation of the open skies agreement, and all the US-based international airlines kicked against it.

When the government exhibited some form of obstinacy, the airlines association took the US government to the court. The government was accused of encouraging the Golf Airlines to undermine their business interest and by extension the well-being of investors in air transport in the United States of America.

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