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    Nigeria Plans Review of Air Pacts with 37 Countries to Boost Air Transportation

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    The Federal Government of Nigeria is set to review bilateral air service agreements with 37 African countries, all signatories to the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). These agreements aim to liberalize air transportation across the continent and enhance intra-African trade.

    Speaking at the 24th-anniversary event of the YD Day in Abuja, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to SAATM, emphasizing the importance of air transport liberalization in boosting intra-African trade. He highlighted that while African airlines experienced a 34.7% surge in passenger traffic over the past year, the continent’s global passenger market share remained modest at 2.1%. SAATM, he noted, would contribute significantly to trade, tourism, and reducing the continent’s trade deficit.

    As part of the commitment to SAATM, Keyamo directed the review of Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) with African countries signatory to SAATM, aligning them with the provisions of the Yamoussoukro Decision and principles of reciprocity.

    Simultaneously, Air Peace, Nigeria’s largest airline, has initiated transit flights from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, connecting various regional and international cities. The move aims to enhance connectivity between African countries and the rest of the world.

    In a related development, the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, emphasized that SAATM serves as a catalyst for the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by facilitating the movement of people and goods across the continent.

    The transit international flights introduced by Air Peace include routes from Accra to Mumbai and Jeddah, as well as from Dakar to Jeddah and Mumbai. Regional transit flights include routes from Accra to Freetown, Douala, Dakar, and Banjul, as well as Monrovia to Lome. The airline aims to create a Transit Hub at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

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    Gambia To Explore Tourism, Economic Opportunities With Nigeria

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    A high-powered delega­tion from The Gambia, led by Mrs Isatou Dram­meh, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, recently visited Badagry, Lagos State, to explore potential partnership op­portunities in tourism, trade, and economic de­velopment.

    The delegation met with authorities in Badagry to discuss part­nerships in tourism devel­opment, cultural exchang­es, hospitality investment, and trade.

    The high-powered team from The Gambia acknowledged the simi­larities between the two countries in the areas of rich cultural heritage, his­torical sites, and beautiful coastlines.

    After the meeting and a tour of the ancient city, the facilitator, Hon. Apata Sam­son Nunayon, Chairman, Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria, (ATPN) Lagos Chapter and CEO of Eko Destination Ltd, briefed the delegation on the upcoming Destina­tion Lagos Awards.

    The delegation that showed enthusiasm about the upcoming event en­dorsed it and pledged full participation.

    The Destination Lagos Awards scheduled to hold later in the year aims to celebrate excellence in tourism, hospitality, and entertainment.

    It would also showcase Lagos State’s best offer­ings and create a strate­gic platform for regional tourism promotion and networking.

    The Gambia’s en­dorsement will, howev­er, strengthen the bond between the two nations and foster cooperation in tourism development and economic growth.

    “We are thrilled to support the Destination Lagos Awards and look forward to a fruitful part­nership with Eko Destina­tion Ltd,” said Mrs. Isatou Drammeh.

    According to the orga­nizers, the partnership signals a new era of co­operation and collabora­tion between The Gambia and Lagos State, driving growth and prosperity in both regions.

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    Federal University, Lokoja inaugurates zoo

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    The Federal University, Lokoja on Thursday inaugurated a zoo to ease students’ practical learning in biodiversity, wildlife and recreation.

    Akonitv reports that the zoo and conservatory situated at the Field Main Campus of the institution, was inaugurated by the Conservator-General of the National Park Service, Ibrahim Goni.

    Some of the animals in the zoo include donkeys, snakes, ostriches, horses, monkey, among others.

    Akonitv reports that the zoo has a children amusement and recreational facilities to serve as a recreational and educational facility for the people of Lokoja and its environs.

    It is also expected to provide a space where families, tourists and wildlife enthusiasts could learn about Nigeria’s rich natural heritage.

    Mr Goni, while inaugurating the facility, described it as a centre with the potential to contribute to global conservation efforts that would benefit humanity.

    He said: “Nigeria, as a nation, is rich in natural and cultural diversity, so the protection of its natural resources will always be of utmost importance.

    “The role of zoos and conservatories in the preservation and protection of biodiversity cannot be overstated as they serve as living laboratories, fostering deep understanding and appreciation for the natural world.”

    He disclosed that about 180 million people visit Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos and aquariums each year, and contribute about $24 Billion to the U. S Economy.

    According to him, in Nigeria, travel and tourism contribute about 3.6 per cent to the country’s GDP annually.

    Mr Goni expressed the belief that through effective collaboration among the academia, conservationists and the government, the objectives of the centre would be achieved.

    The university’s vice chancellor, Prof. Akinwumi, described zoos as educational resources, providing a living laboratory for students and researchers in the fields of biology, environmental science and wildlife management.

    “For creating a safe haven for various animal species, we are not only contributing to global conservation efforts, but also raising awareness about the importance of protecting our natural world.”

    Earlier, the director of the centre, Prof. Jacqueline Badaki, had lamented the ever-changing wild landscape being ripped apart by climate change and habitat loss across the globe.

    Ms Badaki opined that captive breeding programmes were needed more than ever before to “assure the survival of some species that cannot survive on their own”.

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    Sanwo-Olu unveils Ashimolowo’s N6bn Makarios Aquatic Park

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    Sanwo-Olu unveils Ashimolowo’s N6bn Makarios Aquatic Park

    Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, unveiled Makarios Aquatic Park located in Aiyeteru, Ibeju along the Lekki-Epe Expressway in Lagos.

    The N6bn project is celebrated as the first multi-sensory aquatic park in sub-Saharan Africa.

    The innovative park is expected to offer a unique recreational experience and serve as a major attraction, boosting tourism and the local economy in the area.

    The project, envisioned and developed by Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, underscores a commitment to transforming the region into a premier destination for both residents and visitors.

    Ashimolowo is an entrepreneur and founder of Kingsway International Christian Centre, KICC, and the Chairman of Makarios Luxury Properties Limited.

    Sanwo-Olu, who alongside many dignitaries was treated to a stunning view of jets of water moving in perfect harmony with musical rhythms, described his experience as that of “power of imagination and bringing imagination to reality”.

    He said, “With those things that we see in other parts of the world, the inspiring landscape we hear about, bringing them here, the least we can do is to acknowledge and appreciate it. As your governor, we are proud of this masterpiece this evening.

    “For us, it is about being an enabler of the greater things to happen. As Lagos continues to be home for all of us, it is also a future we all aspire to. Lagos is not only growing, but it is also a very resilient and forward-looking state.

    “When we see investments from our citizens or foreigners coming to the city, we are always very encouraged to support those investments. I assure you that this is the beginning of a lot of things that will be happening at the Makarios.”

    The governor commended Ashimolowo for the huge investment, noting that the Lekki corridor has been the fastest-growing corridor in Africa thus luxury living and properties will still come and differentiate the axis from others.

    “Putting this here to salivate the development that is to come here is very inspirational,” Sanwo-Olu added.

    Speaking on the inspiration behind the Makarios Aquatic Park, Ashimolowo, who revealed that his dream was to transform Lagos into a global hub of sophistication and leisure, said the concept was borne out of his experience in Dubai during the COVID-19.

    According to the preacher and author, he reimagined waterfront living, bringing the essence of Dubai’s iconic waterfront right to Lagos, Nigeria.

    Moreso, he observed that whenever he visits Nigeria with his grandchildren, they get easily bored as there are fewer places to take them to.

    “It became obvious to me that I could do something and be a part of the legacy. I wanted to be part of the solution and answer this question. People wanted to come to Nigeria but there are no tourist places to visit. That’s what gave birth to this place. I am very glad it has happened. I have lived in the United Kingdom for 40 years —and I still live there. I don’t want to be part of those Nigerians in the Diaspora who are always lamenting. That is what most of them do. I want to be part of solving problems,” said Ashimolowo.

    He described the Makarios Aquatic Park as an uncommon, unusual water display show. “A symphony of water, sound, and music, mesmerizing to the eyes, to the mind and the spirit. Firstly, you see water dancing, secondly, you see water responding to music, thirdly you see water mixed with laser light and fourthly you see water rise,” he stated.

    The Makarios Water Fountain is one of the few that has a water screen in the middle. It has 180 pumps that form a water screen and shoot about 12 meters with no building around, the wind can blow the water. As the water rises, it meets with the one cascading down to form a spectacular scene.

    The entire Makarios Ecosystem comprises both business and leisure districts. Built with the upper middle class and upwardly mobile people in mind, aside from the Aquatic Park, the entire Makarios Luxury Place will be a community where work, leisure, and luxury coexist harmoniously. Works are ongoing at the iconic shopping mall —sprawling across 8000 square meters—, a plush hotel as well as a 10-storey Imperial Towers with over 800 living spaces including chic apartments and elegant terraced and detached houses.

    “Makarios is designed to be more than just a residence; it’s an experience. Our vision is to offer a lifestyle that transcends boundaries, creating a world where dreams meet reality,” he said.

    The Makarios Aquatic Park opens to the public on Saturday, June 15, 2024.

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