The Italian government’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stefano De Leo, direct flights from Italy to Nigeria would begin soon.
“We plan to open an Italian trade agency in Lagos and, hopefully, soon launch direct flights between Italy and Nigeria,” De Leo said.
The Italian envoy said this moments after signing a working agreement with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on behalf of the Italian news agency, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) in Abuja.
The ambassador said the direct flights from Italy to Nigeria would boost the economic ties between the two countries.
De Leo added that the flights would lay the conditions for opening up other opportunities that would be mutually beneficial to both Italy and Nigeria in the near future.
“We are working closely with my colleague, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Italy, Mr Mfawa Abam. Today is a positive day because it signifies an important step towards improving the already excellent relations between both countries,” the envoy said.
The envoy said that the working agreement signed between NAN and ANSA would see the two news agencies sharing information and knowledge.
According to him, the agreement will also see ANSA providing training to NAN’s newsroom manpower.
He described the agreement as a major development, especially in view of the fact that it involves “a partner such as Nigeria, the giant of Africa”.
Responding, the Managing Director of NAN, Buki Ponle, described the agreement as a step in the right direction as it would unveil great possibilities for news exchange between both agencies.
Ponle added that NAN is the country’s largest content provider and national purveyor of information, with 36 state offices and 26 district offices.
He said that the news agency’s focus was Nigeria, with Africa as the centerpiece of its reportage.
“The signing of the news exchange agreement with ANSA marks another defining phase in our continued engagements with like-minded institutions.
“It is my hope and belief that this landmark event will signal the beginning of a sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship.
“To leverage its octopoidal reach, NAN has news exchange partnerships with leading international wire agencies such as Reuters (UK); Deutsch Presse-Agentur (Germany); Xinhua (China); and Sputnik (Russia).
“Others are Yonhap (South Korea); Asian News International (India); Anadolu (Turkey); and Bulgaria News Agency (Bulgaria).
“This is just a chip of the global experiences we are bringing into the partnership agreement with ANSA aimed at fostering a new and positive order in global reportage,” he said.
NAN reports that the managing director of NAN signed the agreement for NAN while the Italian ambassador signed on behalf of ANSA at the NAN headquarters in Abuja.