The Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, has accused the Nigerian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of sabotaging the nation’s economic interest by marketing Emirates Airlines’ charter flights despite a motion prohibiting the continued use of foreign airlines for the evacuation of stranded Nigerians. Nnaji who represents Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency of Enugu State, made this known yesterday while berating the Nigerian Embassy for urging stranded Nigerians in the UAE to buy tickets from Emirates Airlines, describing the development as unfortunate.
He recalled that the House of Representatives had last June after adopting a motion on the continued use of foreign airlines to evacuate stranded Nigerians abroad, mandated the Committee on Aviation to liaise with the Presidential Taskforce, (PTF) on COVID-19, the Ministries of Aviation and Foreign Affairs and their relivant agencies to ensure that only indigenous airlines are allowed to carry out subsequent evacuation of stranded Nigerians abroad. He said it was regrettable that Emirates has continued to evacuate stranded Nigerians from UAE with the active conivance of the officials of Nigerian Embassy in Abu Dhabi to the detriment of earlier agreement for Nigerian airlines being engaged for such evacuations.
While condemning the continued use of foreign airlines for the exercise, Nnolim stated that it was robbing indigenous airlines the little opportunity to earn revenue at a period of severe financial meltdown.
“All over the world, embassies and diplomats strive to promote and protect the economic interests of their nations, but it is unfortunate that this has not been the case with our Embassy in UAE” Nnaji said.
He called for investigations into the roles of embassy officials in Abu Dhabi, urging severe sanctions on them if found culpable. He equally urged the PTF and Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Aviation as well as their agencies to step in and do whatever was required to safeguard the earlier agreement reached on the matter.