NewsNigeriaControversy over delayed Repatriation of Nigerians in Canada

    Controversy over delayed Repatriation of Nigerians in Canada

    Efforts being made for the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in Canada have been mired with controversies following a confusion among Ministries of Aviation, the High Commission of Canada and the Foreign Affairs on the choice of carrier to be engaged for the exercise.

    In the spirit of support for local-based businesses, Nigerians believe a local airline with a success of flying to top tier countries such as the United States should be given the chance to airlift the returnees home from Canada.

    Besides employing many Nigerians, local-based businesses are tax-paying and contribute to the nation’s GDP. Some few Nigerian airlines have engaged in many international flights, including landing in Canada.

    Rift Stalling the Evacuation

    Investigations by The Nation Newspapers reveal the Canadian High Commission was strategically delaying the evacuation of Nigerians in Canada by deferring flight rights for a local Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, in sly moves to pave the way for Ethiopian Airlines, which is being considered for the evacuation exercise.

    The FG’s Choice of Air Peace

    Last week, the Nigerian government assigned Air Peace to operate the evacuation flight of Nigerians stranded in Calgary and Toronto, Canada.

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    Sources from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed the Canada High Commission opened talks with Ethiopian Airlines, which has been airlifting Canadian citizens from different parts of Africa to Canada to deprive a Nigerian carrier the privilege of airlifting its citizens.

    Dissatisfied with trickery to pave the way for Ethiopian Airlines, the Ministries of Aviation and Foreign Affairs’ investigations revealed that the two ministries are insisting the Nigerian carrier has to operate the flight in conformity with its new stance that all evacuation flights must be conducted by Nigerian carriers.

    The undue delay in approving Air Peace, a home-based airline to handle the repatriation flight, has pissed off officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as a myriad of other well-meaning Nigerians who have been observing the bizarre situation for some time now.

    Some prospective returnees, who have booked Air Peace for the expected flight, were already expressing worries over the Canada High Commission’s stance to opt for a foreign airline when a Nigerian carrier could actually carry out the evacuation exercise efficiently and at a cheaper rate.

    The Nigerian Evacuation from Canada

    In another development, the Daily Post reported that about 200 Nigerians are ready to be repatriated from Canada although their evacuation flight has been postponed.

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    The Nigeria High Commission in Ottawa made this disclosure in a statement on Wednesday.

    The commission explained that logistics issues beyond its control are to blame for the postponement of the flight.

    It remarked that a newer date would be announced for the evacuation of Nigerians in Canada as soon as the airline secures the clearance from the Canadian authorities.

    Also, The Punch Newspaper reveals that Nigeria High Commission in Canada says it is set to facilitate the evacuation of Nigerians stranded in the country due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

    In an official statement released on Monday, the mission said it had received about 200 requests for evacuation from Nigerians in Canada who are desperate to return home.

    Business Day reports that many Nigerians have commended the federal government for insisting that a Nigerian carrier must be engaged to evacuate the stranded Nigerians from Canada.

    The President of Aviation Round Table (ART), an industry think tank, has commended the action taken by the federal government, especially both the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Aviation for insisting that a Nigerian carrier should be engaged to airlift the evacuees.

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    The president advised that a foreign carrier should not be engaged to evacuate Nigerians when there are Nigerian carriers that are capable of performing the task.

    He explained that flight operation remains an integral part of international diplomacy. International diplomacy is a war won or lost on the business fronts. Except the decision to get approval for local airlines to play in the global scene is viewed from this angle, the war would be won or lost, while we were still at the drawing board.

    He said a planned evacuation is much like an emergency flight in which all countries are deploying their own airlines to repatriate their citizens from different parts of the globe. Air Peace has satisfied all the requirements for evacuating Nigerians and the federal government should be praised for insisting that Nigerian carriers must be engaged in the operation.

    He said that if Air Peace airlifted Nigerians it would take a shorter time to bring them back home but they would spend longer time with other foreign airlines.

    Robert David
    Robert David
    Robert David is a journalist of Awutar. If you want to get in touch with him write via: [email protected]


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