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Reps ban airlines from Canada, UK for denying Nigeria landing rights during evacuation

The House of Representatives has said airlines from Canada and UK will no longer be allowed landing rights in Nigeria.

The Committee on Aviation said this was in retaliation for denying Nigerian carrier the same rights.

The Chairman, Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, stated this in a statement issued on Saturday.

He explained that the committee reached the decision on Friday at the end of an investigative hearing.

Nnaaji said the hearing was on the use of foreign airlines to evacuate stranded Nigerians out of the UAE, UK and USA by Emirates Airline, British Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, respectively.

The lawmaker declared that their engagement in earlier evacuations undermined the integrity of Nigeria as a leading economy in Africa.

He disclosed that the House, via a motion, urged President Muhamadu Buhari to direct the Ministries of Aviation and Foreign Affairs not to patronize foreign airlines in the evacuation of stranded Nigerians.

The motion was to ensure that Nigerian airlines enjoy the right of first refusal in any future evacuation flights.

Nnaji said the committee also directed the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to deny approval to any airline from Canada and UK unless they allow a Nigerian operator approval for evacuation of citizens.

“The Ministry of Aviation and its relevant agencies were also mandated to report Canada to the International Civil Aviation Organization, (ICAO). This is for denying a Nigerian Airline landing rights for the evacuation of stranded Nigerian citizens in that country,” he said.

It stated that the committee blamed the frustrations the airlines were going through on what he described as “international aero politics”.

The statement said that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika and his Foreign Affairs counterpart, Godfrey Onyeama, were in attendance at the investigative hearing.

He hailed Sirika for his unprecedented support for the indigenous airline operators, adding that approval for aircraft importation which used to take months now takes less than 48 hours.

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