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Canada denies entry to Air Peace to evacuate stranded Nigerians

(NNP) The Air Peace evacuation flight to Canada to repatriate 200 stranded Nigerians has been denied entry by the Canadian authorities on the grounds that the airline does not have the license to fly a commercial flight to the North American country. Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, stated that “It is true the Canadian Government denied landing rights to a Nigerian Carrier scheduled for evacuation duty, on grounds that the Airline does not have a license to undertake commercial flights to Canada. Our High Commissioner is engaging with Canadian Government on this issue. The argument our High Commissioner is making is that this is not a regular commercial flight, but instead an emergency evacuation flight. So negotiations are ongoing with the Canadian government.”

The Nigerian Embassy in Ottawa in its own statement stated “Due to some logistics issues that are beyond the control of the High Commission (failure to secure overflight and landing permits from the Canadian authorities in time), the Air Peace special flight No. APK 8711 that was earlier scheduled to depart from Canada to Nigeria on Thursday, 14 May, 2020 will not be taking place as previously scheduled.” The state went further, “The High Commission opted for Air Peace because the airfare was relatively more affordable compared to the offers of other airlines that were contacted, coupled with the fact that only Air Peace had agreed to convey the evacuees from more than one location in Canada. The High Commission is awaiting information on the overflight and landing permit from the Canadian authorities and the new date would be communicated as soon as the clearance is secured. Any inconveniences caused by this painful development is highly regretted.”

In the meantime, Nigerians scheduled on that flight who spoke with New Nigerian Politics on condition of anonymity, expressed their disappointment of the lack of planning on the part of the Embassy officials. They stated that these logistics should have been addressed well ahead of time and cleared with the Canadian authorities before a date is set for them to depart. Most of those scheduled to be on the flight have arrived from other cities in the vast country to Toronto and Calgary in anticipation of the flight only to hear that it has been cancelled.

One of the would-be passengers noted angrily, “This is the problem with our country. This is why our country is a mess. Why are they not thinking? What does it take to arrange an evacuation flight with the Canadians? If they cannot arrange a simple evacuation flight, what is their usefulness in Canada? They should close the embassy and return home and save taxpayer their money. I don’t stay in Toronto, I have come from another province to catch the flight and I have no place to go now before a new date is set.” There is no word on when the flight will be rescheduled.

-New Nigerian Politics  

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Posted by on May 14 2020. Filed under Africa & World Politics, Aviation, Canadian Politics, Latest Politics, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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