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Keyamo and Chidoka clash over Emirates Airlines’ planned return to Nigeria

Former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, has disagreed with the current Minister, Festus Keyamo, SAN, over the return of Emirates Airlines to the country.

Emirates had announced it would resume flights to Nigeria in October this year, two years after suspending them.

An excited Keyamo had taken to his verified X handle to announce the return of the Emirates.

But the former Minister in a post titled “No to the return of Emirates Airlines to Nigeria” in response to Keyamo’s announcement said: “The joyful announcement of the return of Emirates Airline to Nigeria by the Hon. The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, SAN, in X is a sad reminder of the growing lack of national pride and growing irrelevance of Nigeria in the world.

“The audacity of Emirates Airlines to even consider returning to Nigeria smacks of contempt and disdain towards our nation. The actions of the UAE government and its airline, Emirates, from the unjustified visa ban on all Nigerians to the suspension of flights, have been nothing less than a blatant attack on the dignity of Nigerians.

“During my tenure as Minister of Aviation, 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 relations and regional alliances in the Gulf. However, when Nigeria faced economic challenges, Emirates blatantly abandoned us while other airlines stood by us.

“Emirates Airlines, arguably the richest airline in the world, was the only airline to suspend operations. All African and European airlines, to whom the Nigerian government was equally indebted, continued to operate and weathered the storm with us as a people, a remarkable show of solidarity and a vote of confidence in a market they had enjoyed for decades. Emirates Airlines, like the UAE’s Mubadala, the main investor in Etisalat Nigeria, fled at the first sign of trouble, leaving Nigerians stranded and insulted by its petty behaviour.

“They didn’t just leave. The UAE government has imposed an appalling visa ban on all Nigerians. The imposition of a visa ban on all Nigerians is a vile and unjustified display of aggression and dehumanization of Nigerians. Nigerians must say no to the unjustified stigmatization and degradation of Nigerians, almost similar to the ghettos of 20th century Europe.

“A national visa ban suggests a desire to humiliate and defame a people as a group. The behavior of the UAE government and its airline is an unprovoked attack, and Nigeria should insist on comprehensive redress. As we speak, there is still no information on the visa ban nor any apology to Nigerians.

“The Nigerian government must not allow Emirates Airlines to return to our skies without being held accountable for its disrespectful and degrading conduct. We demand a thorough investigation and restitution before even considering his return. Respect for our nation and our people is non-negotiable and is an irreducible minimum. We will not allow our pride to be trampled by arrogant corporations or foreign governments. This administration must reaffirm our invaluable sovereignty at all times. Our sovereignty is not for sale,” Chidoka wrote on Wednesday.

But Keyamo in his response said Chidoka’s view was distorted even as he claimed that the UAE would soon lift the visa ban on Nigerians.

He wrote: “Thank you @osita_chidoka for your opinion. However, to prove his patriotism, sincerity and fidelity to the touted ‘Nigerian Pride’, the big puzzle is: why did he not similarly advise his boss, director and mentor ATIKU Abubakar @atiku to immediately move from Dubai to Nigeria and sold all his assets there in protest when the visa and flight ban was announced? Hypocrisy has never been so bold!

“Again, it is curious that as a member of the PDP think tank, its electoral strategy at one point (popularly dubbed ‘the Dubai Strategy’) was hatched in Dubai itself and not in Nigeria before the election was announced. prohibition. . Why export a purely Nigerian project to Dubai if you loved Nigeria so much? For the avoidance of doubt, this government is focused on fostering healthy relationships with important partners around the world for the ultimate benefit of Nigerians.

“Considering the huge investments and interests of Nigerians in the UAE, should we continue to engage in ‘Bolekaja’ (motor park) diplomacy capable of harming the interests of Nigerians? Won’t the imminent return of Emirates to Nigeria, and reciprocally the return of AIRPEACE to operate that route, lead to better competition which will ultimately ruin the current high fares on that route? Who will benefit most? How many Emiratis visit Nigeria and invest here as much as Nigerians visit the UAE and invest there?

“Have you bothered to ask about the lifting of the visa ban before issuing your twisted statement? FYI, that has also been resolved and the announcement is imminent. Instead of slyly resorting to the card of false nationalism in search of cheap political arguments, Nigerians should have been told of the economic disadvantages that Nigeria could suffer, if any, as a result of the Tinubu administration’s commendable effort to right our relations with our countries. friends in the United Arab Emirates. “I will advise your PDP to work harder to regain power in 2027 and perhaps resume hostilities with the UAE authorities thereafter.”

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