PAINED by the action of the United Kingdom, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema has revealed that the country will review its Air agreements with various countries following the treatment of its flag carrier, Air Peace during a botch evacuation instigated by the British government.
Onyema who was pained in his tweet also commended Air Peace for its unrivalled patriotism stating that Nigeria’s airline had been badly treated during this pandemic.
There has also been a lot of hue and cries over the domination of foreign airlines in the countries airspace doing evacuation flight despite the country’s capacity including admonitions from the House Committee on Aviation, airline operators in the country and a majority of Nigerians
As at last count, there is still an imbalance in the agreements between the UK and Nigeria as the former has continued to enjoy unfettered access into the latter without adequate reciprocity due to shenanigans set in place to foil Nigerian airlines.
Information from the British High Commission in Nigeria states that at least 2, 789 Britons have been repatriated home from Nigeria amid the COVID-19 pandemic all with 12 special repatriation flights from Nigeria.
All the flights where operated by airlines from the United Kingdom include one from United Kingdom that brought Nigerians into the country when trying to airlift their own.
However, Nigeria has had the raw end of the stick as Air Peace evacuated 315 Nigerians from London, Heathrow, on June 28 where the UK denied them rights to evacuate another 584 Nigerians which was supposed to depart today, July 13, 2020.
Minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Omyeama in a tweet yesterday explained the situation while commending the airline. He said:
” Having been allowed to carry out very successful evacuation of Nigerians from London at very low fares, Air Peace in coordination with the Nigerian government and full knowledge of the U.K. authorities scheduled two additional flights.
” All the arrangements were made including payments, only for the UK authorities to withdraw landing rights close to departure despite strong representations by the Nigerian government including pointing out the hardship that would be caused to hundreds of Nigerian evacuees.
“Air Peace could have just refunded the passengers but exceptionally, patriotically and altruistically agreed to find an alternative carrier acceptable to the UK authorities to carry out evacuation a day later than scheduled but for much higher fare.
” These higher fares could have legitimately been passed on to the evacuees but Air Peace bore this huge cost itself. This is to let the aggrieved evacuees know that the object of their grievance should neither be Air a Peace nor the Nigerian government They should rather be eternally grateful to Air Peace.
“The Nigerian Government will review its Air agreements with various countries as a result of this unacceptable treatment of Nigerian carriers during this pandemic.”