‘Direct Flights between US, Nigeria Strengthen Diplomatic Relations’

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Ambassador Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye

Ambassador Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye

Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye,  has said that direct flights between Nigeria and the United States of America have strengthened economic, political and social ties of the two countries.

Adefuye stated this weekend at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos during the inaugural flight of the United Airline which has started daily flight operations from the George Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston, Texas, to Nigeria.

The Ambassador said the coming of the American carrier into Nigeria underscored President Goodluck Jonathan’s resolve to attract direct foreign investment which would further improve the economy of the country.

He lamented the rigor experienced by Nigerians living in the United States in connecting flight to Lagos through Europe, noting that this would be a thing of the past.

Adefuye disclosed that about half a million Nigerians live in Houston, remarking that with the United Airlines direct flights to Lagos, it would be easy for Nigerians living there and other nearby cities to return home within  11 hours, instead of spending almost two days going to Europe first to connect flights to their country.

The Ambassador   called on the private sector to support the Federal Government’s drive to attract foreign investment into the country,  saying that the government only cannot drive the process.

“Let me thank the authorities of United Airline for making this possible. As we all know the government said the major task is to improve the living standard of people in the country, it means that they are going to open Nigeria for business and to invite direct foreign investment to this country. That of course presupposes that there will be ease of traveling to Nigeria.”

He said that this had been achieved with the direct flights from Houston, where many Nigerians live to Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital.

“And United is here now from Houston Texas and they are going to help our government to achieve its objective of opening up the country for business, and also making sure that there is direct foreign investment and that trade is promoted between Nigeria and the United States of America. Part of what the President Jonathan means is that the Nigerian airspace and Nigerian market will be open to reputed airlines to come in here and take Nigeria to the world and bring the world to Nigeria for business”

Speaking also at the event, the US, Consul General to Nigeria, Joseph D. Stafford, stated that the coming of the US carrier into the Nigerian aviation industry was one of the strategic building blocks between the two countries.

He said the American government was proud with relationship she has with the Nigerian government, adding that the US government would do everything to promote the ties between both nations.

He said,“ It is a great occasion for me to be here and I want to express my sincere gratitude to our Nigerian partners, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airport Authority Nigeria (FAAN), for making this possible. This is one of the strategic building blocks between the two countries. We will do everything to promote this relationship”

Meanwhile, United Airline’s Vice President Sales, Transatlantic, Middle East and India, Charles Duncan, said the airline is working with local organization to provide top class services to Nigerian passengers pointing out that the airline would be providing local cuisines on board its flights.

He said, “Houston is an important destination for the both business travelers, particularly from the energy sector and leisure traffic. At the same time, our Houston hub provides Nigerian travelers with fast and easy connections to destinations across the US and through the Americas. The launch of this new route underlines the importance of the Nigerian market to United and we are confident that it will further strengthen commercial and cultural ties between the two nations.”


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