NIGERIA:Ban On Lufthansa, Air France ,KLM And Others ,Not Political

The Federal Government of Nigeria on Monday, through the Minister of Aviation explained that its decision to ban some International airlines from coming into the country was not politically motivated.

The Minister , Hadi Sirika, while speaking at the bi-weekly Presidential Task Force(PTF) on Covid- 19 briefing, said its decision was based on the capacity to handle a certain number of passengers to curb the import of coronavirus into the country.

“Every decision we have taken is based on concrete variables. So, regarding who comes in and who is not approved, we all know that we have a challenge of the number of passengers that we can process in our airports given the resources; both human and material, that we have to fight COVID-19.

“There is nothing political about it. No decision we have taken is diplomatically-related or for tit for tat diplomatic relationship; far from that,” he said.

Airlines denied entrance into Nigeria on resumption of International flights included Air France, KLM, Etihad, Rwandair, Lufthansa, TAAG Angola Airlines, Air Namibia, and Royal Air Maroc ..

Nigeria had in August vowed to implement a reciprocity clause by banning flights and airlines from countries that put similar bans on flights from Nigeria as nations open their airspace amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So, the airlines were contacted and so it has nothing to do with countries per se, and that is why for instance, Emirates was approved but Etihad from the same country was denied. So, it has nothing to do with countries.

“We will maintain the number that we can handle in our airports and we will keep it to those who can take non-resident visas, tourists, and others in and out of the country,” he said.

Hon Sirika said the ban placed on these airlines is unconnected to their countries of operations, as his statement suggested that the ban was for a different reason and not reciprocity.

He said the airlines were barred to limit the numbers of people coming into the country as the world continues to battle COVID-19.

The minister also hinted that Enugu, Kano, and Port Harcourt airports will be opened to international flights as soon as the airports have the capacity to process a certain number of passengers into the country.

“However, those airports that are private airports, which are also government approved; operators should check the safety status with Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority. Such airports like Jalingo, Uyo, Asaba, Gombe, Nasarawa, Damaturu, Osubi and others,” he added.

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