Oludare Awoniyi, Nigeria’s ambassador to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, says both countries are in talks to establish a direct air link to promote trade relations.
Awoniyi said this during an interview with the NAN on Monday in Caracas.
He said that presently it will take 40 hours to travel across both continents, whereas the journey should take only eight hours if there were to be a direct link between both countries.
The ambassador said that the Air link would be beneficial to both Nigeria and Venezuela.
He added that other countries of Africa and South America, and the entire world would be able to tap into the benefit of the air link.
“Right now, we have to travel about 40 hours to get here through Turkish Airlines, and we are thinking of the possibilities of linking Nigeria with Venezuela direct,” the ambassador said.
“Caracas to Lagos, Abuja and maybe a city like Maracaibo here so that we have two stops in Nigeria and two stops in Venezuela to bring our people closer.
“The distance is particularly important because the air travel does not necessarily in itself generate much income for nations, but it does generate the links to do business.
“You can now ship and link goods and products after meetings and agreements. You can now use ships to move goods in mass because airlines cannot meet the quantities.
“But that ability to quickly go and come helps businesses. For example, if we have direct links, we will be flying to Nigeria in eight hours because of the equatorial winds.
“And if you can travel fifteen hours to and fro, it means that technically, you can live in Lagos, come to Caracas, visit a factory or a farm, do your agreement and fly back, then the business itself will continue.
“It is easier for Nigeria to get in a different direction now because they can get it faster there, but if we get an air link, it will strengthen the relationship more.”
The envoy said that putting in place an air link between Nigeria and Venezuela could further strengthen the good bilateral ties between the countries.
Awoniyi said that the bilateral relations had improved positively when Hugo Chavez, former president of Venezuela, paid a visit to Nigeria twice and Olusegun Obasanjo visited twice too.
“There were also visits by Venezuela’s Vice President and Ministers,” he added.
“We have very good relations with them and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here is interested in fostering the relationship with Nigeria.
“President Nicolas Maduro has expressed the desire to strengthen relations with Nigeria and improve what we have.
“We have a lot of MoUs and agreements pending their implementation. We have twenty-five of them, ten have been signed, fifteen are been reviewed.
“We are hoping that we can begin implementation of those agreements and when we do, the relationship is even going to be closer.”