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Flight Row: Gbajabiamila meets Foreign Affairs, Aviation Ministers, others

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday met with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema and his aviation counterpart, Hadi Sirika, over the flight flow between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Nigeria.

Also present at the meeting were representatives of Emirates Airline, the Chairman/CEO of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, and heads of agencies in the aviation sector.

After the meeting, which was held behind closed doors and lasted for about three hours, Gbajabiamila told journalists that it was a fruitful deliberation where issues at stake were discussed.

The Speaker said both Nigeria and UAE had good diplomatic relations and that they would not allow the current row to mar the long-standing friendship.

He said there were steps taken to address the issues and that “in the next couple of days, this matter will be sealed, I believe. We’re engaged in parliamentary diplomacy. That’s what we’re doing.

“We’re not going to allow this to mar the giant strides made between the two countries.”

The Speaker noted that the UAE Government had already written Air Peace to allow the airline to operate seven slots of flights.

He commended the two ministers for their efforts in resolving the issues even as he appreciated Nigerians for their sacrifices and for standing by the Nigerian Government on the face-off.

On his part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, said the meeting under Gbajabiamila’s leadership was a fruitful one, noting that the action pointed to the relevance of Executive-Legislative engagements.

He said they were hopeful that all the issues would be resolved in no distant future.

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