Nigeria: Envoy Urges Closer Ties as Italy Offers to Vaccinate Nigerians

The Nigerian Ambassador to Italy, Mfawa Omini Abam, has called for closer ties between Nigeria and Italy even as the Italian government has offered to give COVID-19 vaccination to Nigerians resident in the country.

The Nigerian Mission in Italy said yesterday that both countries have mapped out strategies on how to administer the vaccines, adding that even Nigerians on a visit to the European country will benefit from the vaccination as Italy is one of the countries with aggressive vaccination policy.

Sergio Mattarella, the President of Italian Republic assured of the vaccination exercise when he received a letter of credence from Nigerian Ambassador to Italy at the Quirinal Palace, Rome Italy on Monday 14th June 2021.

President Mattarella, who emphasized the need to improve on the diplomatic relations of Italy and Nigeria, said he is happy to receive Abam at this point in time when his country has decided to fight the pandemic and pursue aggressive investment in Nigeria.

He also assured the Nigerian government that the Italian government will increase cooperation and partnership in Nigeria in all areas. He added that Italy will collaborate more in terms of construction, training college students and security personnel, as well as in the oil and gas sector.

He also said that his country will look at the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) as brought forward by the Nigerian envoy even as he revealed that his government will continue to collaborate with the Nigerian government in training to combat terrorism globally.

Earlier in his remarks, Abam reminded the Italian President of the need to resuscitate the BASA agreement between the two countries that has been abandoned. According to the Ambassador, "Nigeria and Italy have subsisting bilateral agreements in various fields which are meant to promote our ties. However, many of such agreements have become obsolete and moribund due to non-implementation.

"Of particular interest is the BASA, which was to give impetus to direct flights between our two countries in order to boost trade and investment. Since Alitalia stopped its operation in Nigeria, there has been no Airline operating the route between Italy and Nigeria. Our people suffer untold hardship travelling for hours and days through third countries."

The Nigerian Ambassador said further that Nigeria as a country will continue to play her role in Africa as the largest economy focusing on peaceful coexistence and working with Italy to pursue issues of common interest.

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