The Central Bank Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele has said the United Arab Emirates is threatening visa ban due to the funds of airlines trapped in Nigeria. He told House of Representatives leadership that the apex bank released $110 million to the foreign airlines in August and is due to release another $120 million on 31st of October. Emefiele said this during a meeting convened by the leadership of the House of Representatives to resolve the $700 million of trapped funds of foreign airlines operating in the country. According to him, Nigeria is a big market for their business, adding that they should not continue to threaten the country over little disagreements.
He said moreover, the Federal Government was making efforts to ensure the money was repatriated to the various countries.
Displeased by the act Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the country does not care if the UAE decides to shut out Nigeria.
Sirika said though he sympathises with the foreign airlines over the trapped funds, there was no ground for threatening the country with such a measure.
“If you disagree, you are supposed to come to us and we sit down and we negotiate and give you what we have in the hope that we finish paying. What I have a problem with are the threats. Every country would threaten Nigeria that they would not fly to Nigeria again, that would not give Nigeria visa. They would not do operations, they would shut Lagos and Abuja. Please countries have been shut completely and they did well. There are examples in Asia, the Middle East and even Europe. We are not afraid to be shut. It would make us do much better. It would make our schools and hospitals do better because necessity is the mother of invention,”Sirika said.
“We would begin to go to our own hospitals and our schools. When you stop coming to Nigeria, it does not make any sense. We are not threatened. When you begin Nigeria, a 200 million market which you need, you do not have a case. And I have a problem with that. I have been doing everything to ensure this is paid. But you can only give what you have,” he added.