Envoy urges Chinese embassy to lift restriction on Nigerian travellers
Nigerian Ambassador to the Peoples’ Republic of China, His Excellency Baba Ahmad Jidda, has called for the eradication of travel restriction on Nigerians travelling to China, to further deepen economic ties between the two countries.
Jidda, on a courtesy visit to Air Peace headquarters in Lagos, commended the flagship carrier for its successful launch of commercial flights to Guangzhou-China, adding that there was more to be done to edge maximum benefits.
The envoy noted that it took about four years of negotiation to get Air Peace to launch flights into China.
“I want to say that as an ambassador, we still have much to do to support Air Peace to operate comfortably for the benefit of all Nigerians and the Chinese. So far, the Chinese are benefitting tremendously from the operations of Air Peace because Nigerians are having some difficulty in obtaining visas.
“I, therefore, want to plead with the Embassy of China in Abuja, to consider relaxing restrictions on Nigerians, such that Nigerians will be given visas and they will now fly Air Peace and the market of Air Peace will expand. This, to us, is very important,” he said.
Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, commended the Ambassador’s solidarity, adding that the country has been supportive.
Onyema said: “This is why I have always believed in the unity of this country. I am Onyema from the South East. You are Alhaji Baba Ahmad Jidda from North East. You have been fighting for me. You have been fighting for this Air Peace owned by an Igbo man. And today, we have it, the China route.
“Today, I want to use this opportunity to tell Nigerians that a Northerner fought for it. Also, a Northerner, our President, approved all these and made sure you, Your Excellency, represented the country so well there to ensure a Nigerian airline got this approval. You stood your ground. Even when we were not contacting you, you were working behind the scenes to make sure this happened.
“And you even went ahead to say that you will get the Chinese authorities to relax their visa rules. Nigerians have business to do with the Republic of China. So, we are very appreciative. We appreciate the President for making sure that his government stood by indigenous investors to make sure their businesses prosper.”