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UAE-Nigeria row: Airline operators commend FG

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Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has commended the Federal Government and the aviation ministry for standing up to demand that the country’s dignity and sovereignty be respected on diplomatic matters between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The body, in a statement issued on Wednesday, December 15, 2021, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his unwavering stance on the issue which emboldened the minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika to reciprocate with equal measures the treatment meted out to a Nigerian airline operating into the UAE.

“The AON wishes to commend the minister of aviation, Hadi Abubakar Sirika, for the courageous way he stood up for the honour, dignity and respect to our sovereignty as a nation on this matter.

“AON is not unmindful of the leading roles the minister played in getting our dear President to sign the Customs Duty and VAT waivers into law immediately the National Assembly passed the bill.

“We commend President Muhammadu Buhari’s government for standing solidly and protectively behind not only Nigerian airlines but also indigenous investments and investors in Nigeria.

“By the recent reciprocal actions undertaken by the Federal Government, national sense of pride and belief in Nigeria rose to an all-time high,” body said.

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The airline operators also commended Musa Nuhu, the director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), for courageous actions in making sure that no country disrespected us.

The UAE recently reduced the three weekly flights operated by Nigeria’s Air Peace into the Sharjah International Airport to just one flight per week while UAE’s carrier, Emirates, operates 21 flights weekly into Nigeria, a situation that led the minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika, to also reduce Emirates frequency into Nigeria to just one flight weekly.

As a result of this action, the UAE authorities have not only granted seven slots per week to Air Peace but also granted the Nigerian carrier the slots to operate from the preferred Dubai Airport instead of Sharjah.

The AON went on to state, “We encourage the Federal Government of Nigeria to continue to reciprocate, in equal measures, against any country that tries, in any manner whatsoever, to disrespect our sovereignty again”.