Sun | Oct 24, 2021

Opening the tourism gateway between Nigeria and Jamaica

High commissioner wants island to be a one-stop shop for her country

Published:Sunday | July 4, 2021 | 12:11 AMHopeton Bucknor - Sunday Gleaner Writer

Nigerian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Her Excellency Ambassador Dr Maureen Tamuno, has pledged to create a tourism gateway between Nigeria and Jamaica.

During an exclusive interview with The Sunday Gleaner, the Nigerian high commissioner, who took up office over a week ago, stated that her aim is to start the process by improving the transportation linkage between both nations.

“I have a very hefty plan for Jamaica as well as Nigeria, and I want to include the transportation linkage between the two countries with the issuing of a direct flight between the two nations,” Ambassador Tamuno stated.

“This will go a long way in creating the cultural exchange programmes that we have been looking forward to, and making sure that tourists are able to come in here to Jamaica, ultimately making Jamaica a one-stop shop tourism destination for Nigerians.”

Expounding, she said, “Jamaica is beautiful for tourists, especially in Montego Bay where I toured last week, but we need to go beyond that. Jamaica needs to be the destination, not a tourism destination but the destination, so they have to include the functions of business experience, cultural shopping, things that can captivate other nations, and not just relaxation.”

Ambassador Tamuno said she will be working closely with the Jamaican Government to see what can be done, noting that the similarities of both nations, in terms of fashion, entertainment and culture, make Jamaica the ideal destination for Nigeria.

“As you know, Nigeria is rich in cultural heritage, and I hope to have a lot of exchange programmes between both countries, in spite of the pandemic situation,” she shared.

“I look forward to starting a virtual exchange programme while we wait on the situation to improve to do the typical exchanges.”


The Nigerian high commissioner also shared that she had a meeting with Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith, and that they are working to resume air services between both countries, which was launched in December 2020, but was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I had that conversation with the minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade two days ago. We both agreed that we need to get back to the round table; we need to look at the bilateral agreement. There are a few grey areas that need to be put together, that have to be signed, and as soon as that is done – I am going to assure you that the airline chairman has given me commitment that as soon as that is done – we will start up flight immediately,” she told The Sunday Gleaner on Friday.

“So it’s not the function of COVID, but it’s about putting a little thing in place in terms of bilateral agreement, and once that is done, then we can start the flight.”

Ambassador Dr Maureen Tamuno took over office in Jamaica just over a week ago, and will serve as the Nigerian high commissioner from Jamaica to Nigeria for the next three years. Upon arriving in Jamaica, she met with Governor General of Jamaica Sir Patrick Allen, and presented him with the letter of credence.

Ambassador Tamuno is married to Sir Morrison N.K. Tamuno – a multi-award winning and multitalented legislator, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and coach from Bolo in Ogu, Nigeria, who speaks five languages.

She attended the Holy Rosary Girls Secondary School and the Ebonyi State University where she obtained several postgraduate degrees, culminating in a PhD in marketing, with speciality in consumer behaviour.

She has served as a member of the 2015 presidential inauguration committee, and ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Belize and Haiti, and permanent representative to the International Seabed Authority.

Ambassador Tamuno has worked in the private and public sections in Nigeria for over 13 years. She served as a board member of the Private Sector Organization of Nigeria for a number of years, after which she was called into politics and served as a Member of Parliament in Ogu/Bolo Constituency, Nigeria, from 2007 to 2011.

She was also community chairman on education, member of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency from 2005 to 2007, and later elected as Mayor for the Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area Rivers State in 2014. She previously served on the Federal Board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.