In the past two weeks, Nigeria has been in serious tension sadly brought about by South Africa, a country Nigeria had in the past given unquantifiable financial, material and moral support to in those terrible days of apartheid.
Nigeria expended huge resources to help liberate the country from the minority white rule.
It is no longer news to the whole world that South Africa has now made it clear to Nigeria in particular and other African countries that all their labour of love towards them could be sacrificed on the altar of xenophobia.
South Africa and its citizens have portrayed themselves as a bunch of ingrates as they continue to show their hatred towards Nigeria and its citizens residing amongst them in the name of mindless violence launched against Nigeria and rest of Africa. In other words, they have chosen to bite the fingers that fed them.
Agreed that the violence may not have direct bearing on the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) existing between the two countries, nevertheless, the latest ungrateful attitude of South Africans towards Nigeria should be an eye-opener to Nigeria which had hitherto been exploited by the various African countries under the guise of calling Nigeria a ‘big brother’.
Prior to this moment, many Nigerians had cautioned their government against falling for the fake attribute of a big brother being foisted on it by the African nations on the premise that such attributes were not genuine, but couched in selfishness.
The time has now come for Nigeria to wake up and see these other African nations as a bunch of wolves in sheep’s clothing pretending to be friendly with Nigeria whereas they are the number one enemies of the country. Therefore, the time has come for Nigeria to urgently review its BASAs with these African nations.
In reviewing its air transport agreements, Nigeria should first drop the fake toga of a big brother it’s wearing and put the interest of Nigeria and its citizens first since its goodwill towards these African countries have been misunderstood to mean weakness.
This brings to the fore the unlimited opportunities given to many of these African countries whose airlines are operating between their countries and Nigeria.
It is on record that while many of these African airlines operating into Nigeria get seamless opportunities to operate, reverse has continued to be the cases as the government of these African nations make live unbearable for the Nigerian airlines designated to operate in their countries.
Many African countries pretend to be in support of the African open skies as they work against Nigeria all in the name of protecting their own airlines.
While they mount pressure on Nigeria to accept such programmes like the controversial African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the long overdue Yamoussoukro Decision and the African open skies because of selfish interests, on the other hand they are ever ready to frustrate the Nigerian airlines and other business investors from gaining access to their countries because of inferiority complex.
Unfortunately, despite genuine efforts made by Nigerian key players to draw the attention of the subsequent governments to these exploitations by the African nations, the Federal Government, having got carried away courtesy of the fake big brother toga bestowed upon it, has continued to allow these African nations, including even the smaller ones, to rip the country off.
Apart from South Africa, there are other African nations that pretend to like Nigeria whereas they hate airlines and investors from Nigeria having business access to their countries.
Without much ado, the time has come for Nigeria to now sit back and review its air service agreements with these African countries. Now, Nigeria needs to rather fight for its indigenous airlines and investors than giving these African nations unnecessary opportunities which they don’t deserve.
Example of why government must fight for its indigenous airlines reared its head when in the midst of the senseless killing of and attacks on Nigerians by the South Africans, a Nigerian carrier, without any pressure voluntarily offered to help evacuate the stranded Nigerians out of the hostile country.
The lesson from here is that all these African countries being given undeserved opportunities will not be there for Nigeria when its citizens are being humiliated by the African countries the way Air Peace has made itself available free of charge.