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‘Return Of Emirate Airline, An Attack On Nigeria’s Dignity’ – Former Aviation Minister



Chidoka condemns return of Emirates Airlines to Nigeria

A former Aviation Minister of Nigeria, Osita Chidoka has condemned the return of Emirates Airlines operation to Nigeria, describing it as an attack on the dignity on the nation.

Recall that on May 16, Emirates Airlines announced it’s return to Nigeria adding that it will swing into operations starting from October 1, 2024.

Reacting to this announcement via his official X handle, on Wednesday, Chidoka began, ” The gleeful announcement of the return of Emirates Airline to Nigeria by the Hon. Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, SAN, on X is a sad reminder of the deepening lack of national pride and the growing irrelevance of Nigeria in the World.

“The audacity of Emirates Airlines to even consider returning to Nigeria reeks of contempt and disdain towards our nation. The actions of the government of UAE and their airline, Emirates, from the unwarranted visa ban on all Nigerians to the suspension of flights, have been nothing short of a blatant attack on the dignity of Nigerians.”

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Taking a peep down memory Lane, he said “During my time as Aviation Minister, Emirates Airlines enjoyed an unprecedented two slots to Lagos and one slot to Abuja granted by my predecessor and sustained over the years. This gesture showed Nigeria’s desire to forge close relationships and build regional alliances in the Gulf.

“Yet, when Nigeria faced economic challenges, Emirates shamelessly abandoned us while other airlines stood by us. Emirates Airlines, arguably the wealthiest airline in the world, was the only airline that suspended operations.”

Chidoka further said that all the African and European Airlines, equally owed by the Nigerian government, continued operating and weathered the storm with us as a people -a remarkable show of solidarity and a vote of confidence on a market they had enjoyed for decades.

“Emirates Airlines, like UAE’s Mubadala, the major investor in Etisalat Nigeria, fled at the first sign of trouble, leaving Nigerians stranded and insulted by their mean behaviour. They did not just walk away. The UAE government imposed an egregious visa ban on all Nigerians.”

Chidoka also frowned at the imposition of a visa ban on all Nigerians, describing it as “an unwarranted and vile display of aggression and dehumanisation of Nigerians.”

He added, “Nigerians must say no to the unjustified stigmatisation and degradation of Nigerians, almost akin to the ghettos of 20th-century Europe. A national visa ban suggests a desire to humiliate and cast a slur on a people as a group.

The behaviour of the UAE government and their Airline is an unprovoked attack, and Nigeria should insist on a wholesome redress. As we speak, there is no word yet on the visa ban and no.”

Calling on actions from the federal government, he said, “The Nigerian government must not allow Emirates Airlines to waltz back into our skies without being held accountable for their disrespectful and demeaning conduct. We demand a thorough investigation and restitution before even considering their return.”

He added, “Respect for our nation and people is non-negotiable and an irreducible minimum. We will not allow our pride to be trampled upon by arrogant corporations or foreign governments. This administration must reaffirm our priceless sovereignty at all times.”

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