Former Trade Union Congress (TUC) leader, Comrade Peter Esele has described the recent feud between Nigeria and the UAE unfortunate, a situation that needs to be addressed without delay as it could spiral to more economic woes for both countries.
In a statement made available to The Standard Gazette, Comrade maintains that the UAE needs Nigeria more.
He writes, "I have watched with deep consternation how some of us have criticized the federal government approach to the tit for tat: aviation brouhaha between both countries. I may not agree with how they handle domestic issues, but on this and other foreign matters, I stand by the Green- white- Green colours of the federal republic of Nigeria.
"The Emiratis has 21 weekly slots for their airline making over 100 million naira daily, while Nigerian carrier - Airpeace has requested 3 weekly slots, only one was approved with contempt." This disparity alone favours Emirates Airline more than the Nigerian carrier.
According to him, the Emiratis Airline makes over $100 million annually from flight tickets alone as the city of Dubai is one of Nigeria's favourite destinations to visit all year round. The amount of money spent by Nigerians on accommodation, sightseeing, and investment is staggering, and therefore, Nigerian and its citizens deserve respect.
The former TUC leader bemoaned the imbalance in investment between the two countries. This ultimately will hurt the UAE because in his words, "there isn't any serious investment in Nigeria by the UAE government and its people to warrant our panic. They can shut their airspace for eternity. They need our money and our hardworking, dynamic, and adventurous citizens."
This is a wake-up call on the government to economically weaponize Nigerians. The financially empowered citizens are more powerful than any ammunition put together in any country's foreign policy.
He commended the Aviation Minister for his handling of the issue, saying that it is in Nigeria's National interest that Airpeace grows and becomes a big player in the global aviation space.
"I am happy to hear that the Emiratis have officially written offering more slots to Airpeace than earlier requested. The stumbling block is the channel of communication.
There isn't any official document making rounds in social media that there is a directive to stop all Nigerians flying into Dubai irrespective of the airline."
He appealed to Nigerians to get behind the government over any challenging policy by any foreign country even though there would be pains and inconveniences, but with strategy and intelligent approach by those in authority, the country will overcome.
"The UAE needs us more than we need them. Therefore, both countries must respect the BASA agreement for a better and seamless relationship," he concluded.©Standard Gazette, 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s publisher is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Standard Gazette with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.