Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan disclosed plans to establish direct flights between Trinidad and Tobago during his state visit to the Caribbean. A new Air Services Agreement between the two countries will make travel easier for both states, though negotiations are ongoing.
Nigerians are currently required to pay $21,000 bond in order to procure a travel visa to Trinidad and Tobago, a challenging condition that will likely be solved through diplomacy during the talks between Jonathan and Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Hon. Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Jonathan addressed the country’s Nigerian community on Tuesday night, promising that relations between the two countries would be strengthened to their benefit, and that all current challenges would be addressed. During the meeting, the $21,000 bond issue was brought forward by a one of the community members.
“This is not only restricted to professionals, the bond are asked of Nigerians alone out of all the Africans states,” the attendee said. “We want you to ask them what Nigerians have done differently or what is it that they are not doing that such a bond should be imposed on us. Because we have the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago living in Nigeria, they are not being asked to pay for bond.”
In addition, citizens requested that Jonathan come to the defense of Nigerians who had been held for almost three years in a detention camp due to immigration issues. With no charges filed against them, the captives should be deported, or tried, they asserted.
President Jonathan is scheduled to spend just two days in the Trinidad and Tobago, coinciding with the country’s Emancipation Day celebrations. The state visit has been mostly a diplomatic event so far, with Jonathan attending shows featuring the National Steel Symphony Orchestra and Susan Mohip Dance Company with his wife and delegates. It has not yet been announced if formal policy talks will take place.