Lagos- The Federal Government has finally bowed to international pressures by taking over the right to evacuate stranded Nigerians in Canada from Air Peace.
The government also promised the stranded Nigerians that it would make necessary refunds to the affected Nigerians based on the agreement clause between it and the Nigerians who had wanted to return to the country with Air Peace.
The evacuation was in the continuation of evacuation exercise, which has been ongoing since the outbreak of Covid-19 virus pandemic.
A letter from the Nigeria High Commission in Nigeria, dated May 20, 2020 with the reference number: NHC/OTT/ADM.56/I with the head: Update on the Flight Postponement,’ and made available to our correspondent, said that the government opted out of the Air Peace arrangement because the Canadian Government expressed reservations concerning the granting of the necessary clearance/landing permit for Air Peace to fly into Canada, due to safety concerns.
The government in the letter agreed that Air Peace airfare was the most convenient and cost effective of all the airlines contacted for the airlift of Nigerians back to the country, but the concern of Canadian Government compelled it to cancel the agreement with the airline.
The letter read in part: “The mission therefore engaged a number of airlines and eventually came up with an arrangement and pricing structure with Air Peace, which no other airline was able to match. You will recall that in our Public Notice of 12th May, 2020, the High Commission announced that the Canadian government had expressed reservations concerning the granting of the necessary clearance/landing permit to Air Peace to fly into Canada, due to safety concerns.”
“Kindly be informed that after protracted engagement, the Canadian Government, has unfortunately reverted with what appears to be a final refusal. As a result, the Air Peace Limited arrangement is hereby cancelled.”
“During the negotiations with Air Peace Limited, the issue of refunds was addressed in the event that the flight did not hold die to unforeseen circumstances and as such, everyone will get refunds for their tickets, from Air Peace Limited as agreed.”
“In the meantime, the Nigeria High Commission is working assiduously to secure an alternative arrangement to get you home as soon as possible, safely and at the least cost, further updates would be communicated in due course.”
Independent had reported last week how the Canada High Commission in Nigeria was responsible for the delay in evacuation of Nigerians from the North American country back to the country.
A source close to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had, confided in our correspondent last Friday that the commission in Abuja attempted to defer the Nigerians from Air Peace to Ethiopian Airlines, even at over 100 per cent high airfare, compared to the Nigerian airline’s airfare for the same exercise.
Air Peace was to evacuate Canadians who are stranded in Nigeria to Canada, while it was also positioned to fly into the country the Nigerian citizens in Canada on its return leg.
This arrangement, it was gathered did not go down well with the commission, which had already engaged Ethiopian Airlines to evacuate its citizens from Nigeria, while Nigerians in Canada would be brought back into the country on the return leg by the East African carrier.
Ethiopian Airlines has been responsible for the evacuation of Canadian citizens from different parts of Africa to the North American country since the exercise began over two months ago.
A document obtained from the Canada High Commission directed that passengers should pay $2, 500 to Ethiopian Airlines; while Air Peace charged $1, 134 for the same exercise.