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ACN Backs Government Stance On Bilateral Air Service Agreement With Britain

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SAN FRANCISCO, November 15, (THEWILL) - The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said it fully supports the federal government's stance on the issue of full respect for the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between the country and Britain.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party specifically hailed the way and manner the issue has been handled by the Aviation Ministry, which has responded in kind to the shabby treatment meted out to Nigeria flag carrier Arik Air in Britain.

''If British airlines must fly to Nigeria unhindered, under the framework of the BASA between the two countries, then Nigerian airlines must fly to Britain without hindrance. Any move to the contrary is an attempt by one party to gain an unfair advantage over the other, and must be resisted to the hilt,'' it said.

ACN added: ''The explanation by the Minister of Aviation that the face-off between the two countries is more about respecting the spirit and letter of the BASA between them, than any other consideration, gladdens our hearts, as it shows that Nigerians as well as the country's corporate citizens can be sure that their government will stand up to defend their rights when necessary.

''This is in consonance with what our party has always said: That the government must stoutly defend Nigerian citizens at home and abroad, to ensure that their dignity is not trampled upon anywhere. This is the only way our country and its citizens can stand tall in the comity of nations.''

The party said the government must not relent in its ongoing efforts to ensure that Nigerian airlines flying into Britain are not shortchanged, and also use the opportunity presented by the development to carry out a holistic review of the Bilateral Air Service Agreements entered into with other countries, with a view to ensuring full respect for such pacts.

It said at a time the Jonathan administration is committing many unforced errors, to use a tennis parlance, due to poorly-conceived policies, the action of the Aviation Ministry represents what his government can achieve if it will only allow itself to be guided by the national interest.