That ban on Emirates was not in bad faith

Here they have come again with different key players trying to outshine the other with a superior argument over steps taken by the federal government to strengthen the country’s aviation sector.

Going through commentaries from key players across the aviation sector in the recent days and weeks, one can only hope for the best for the sector that has for long been enmeshed in myriad of crisis ranging from internal and external aggressions.

The most topical issue tearing the sector down presently has to do with the decision of the federal government to reduce, if not eradicate, the total disrespect often thrown at Nigeria  by many foreign countries as witnessed in the manner they act against the interest of the country and its citizens, using extreme international aero politics with reckless abandon.

Without belabouring issues, it is on record how many of these foreign countries often clamp down on Nigeria’s airlines and its air travelers at any slightest opportunity all because of economic gains and over-protectionism of their investments which this time around are their airlines.

Many of the home countries of the foreign airlines are ever ready to frustrate any Nigerian airline or investors in their countries for the purpose of giving priority to their own.

They are playing this dirty and imbalanced aero politics even when their own businesses are enjoying fair treatment here in Nigeria with huge funds being repatriated through their businesses from Nigeria to their home countries.

Nigeria may truly have its own shortcomings, but the foreign countries if they actually appreciate the good gesture of Nigeria towards their investments and citizens here should have always shown the willingness to engage the country in a better aero politics when the need arises and not a case of treating it in a degrading manner capable of depicting Nigeria as a country that has nothing to offer to them.

As at today, none of those countries whose airlines operate into Nigeria or have investments here can say they have not been blessed in view of the huge economic gains they make here largely due to the tolerance of the government and Nigerians.

As the injustice persists, while all efforts made by the Nigerian government to prevail on the affected countries to respect the air transport agreements existing between them and Nigeria and treat the Nigerian carriers and the citizens with more respect, the foreign countries still continued with the hostile treatment while their airlines and other investments thrive here.

After several calls from key players within and out of the sector on government to join in playing aero politics for the purpose of protecting its domestic airlines and citizens against the international gang up, respite finally came with the announcement to embrace the principle of reciprocity.

Again, following  several diplomatic efforts on all sides, many foreign airlines have been cleared to resume operations.

Not quite long after the return of the foreign carriers to the Nigerian route, the country was again confronted with another controversial treatment from the UAE government which suspended the issuance of visas to Nigerians willing to travel into their country on the excuse that some Nigerians were involved in questionable activities there.

The manner the UAE government carried out the decision showed no iota of respect for Nigeria which coincidentally had hitherto whole heartedly welcomed three carriers: Etihad, Qatar and Emirates from that end to operate over 21 weekly flights between UAE and Nigeria.

It becomes reasonable that the UAE authorities will show a little bit of precaution in taking a general decision on Nigerians due to the misdemeanor of very few in contrast to the cooperation their investments are enjoying here.

As a way of letting the UAE and its likes realise that Nigeria can no longer be taken for granted, Nigeria decided to pay them back in their own coins by also banning Emirates airlines from operating into Nigeria. After all, If their home countries do not permit Nigerians into their countries, why should Nigeria also permit their airlines?.

Cheerfully, though the ban has been lifted, it however generated different reactions with some condemning it and others expressing total support for the ban.

It is therefore, shocking to hear people condemning the government for engaging in aero politics for the first time rather than encourage the move which has to an extent sent a strong message to other countries, one lesson to be learnt is that no country can be an island hence, each country needs each other to survive. The decision taken by the government was a matter of national pride which should not be misinterpreted but commended.


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