Evacuation: stakeholders blast FG, says action is economic sabotage

Over the last 24 hours, the decision of the federal government to engage foreign carriers to airlift Nigerians from across the world back home has enrage stakeholders in the aviation industry, with some describing the action as callous.

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) yesterday condemned the decision and wondered why the federal government will patronise such airlines when the country has indigenous carriers with similar capabilities and capacities.

The body said the action is a disappointment after the same government had made an earlier statement that it would engage two domestic airlines to carry out the evacuation exercise.

A schedule released by the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Tuesday said the first batch of evacuees of 265 from Dubai would arrive Nigeria Wednesday, May 6,2020, another 300 persons are to arrive from London on Friday May 10 on British Airways and on Monday, 11th May Ethiopian Airline would airlift those coming from United States of America.

But a statement signed by the Executive Chairman of AON, Captain Nogie Meggison, the body said that Nigerian airlines have the capacity to bring their countrymen and women back to their fatherland and expressed shock that despite the fact that Nigeria does not have the resources now due to low oil price and despite the fact that airlines are struggling to keep their workforce due to huge loss in revenues occasioned by the COVID-19 lockdown, a government agency would engage foreign airlines to evacuate Nigerians when the country has airlines that are capable of doing that.

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