The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji has expressed dismay over the continued use of foreign airlines in the evacuation of Nigerians stranded abroad.
The development, it noted, is against the directive of the lower chamber of the National Assembly that Nigerian airlines must be prioritised in the evacuation of Nigerians stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Daily Trust reports that the House had in 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 relevant agencies to ensure that only indigenous airlines should carry out subsequent evacuation of stranded Nigerians abroad.
But Nnaji in a statement on Sunday decried the continued flouting of the directive.
He specifically berated the Nigerian Embassy in United Arab Emirates (UAE), accusing it of sabotaging the economic interests of Nigeria and Nigerian people.
Nnaji who represents Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency of Enugu State in the House of Representatives said “it was regrettable that Emirates has continued to evacuate stranded Nigerians from UAE with the active connivance of the officials of Nigerian Embassy in Abu Dhabi to the detriment of earlier agreement that only the Nigerian Airlines should henceforth be engaged for such evacuations.
He condemned the continued use of foreign airlines for the evacuation flights saying that it was robbing the indigenous airlines the little opportunity of earning revenue at this period of severe financial meltdown.
Nnolim said: “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.”
He however called for serious investigations into the roles of the embassy officials in Abu Dhabi, saying anyone found culpable should face severe sanctions.
He equally urged the PTF and Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Aviation as well as their agencies to step in and do whatever is required to safeguard the earlier agreement reached on this matter.