The Aviation Safety Roundtable Initiative (ART) has decried refusal of the Canadian Government to allow Air Peace landing rights to transport the stranded Nigerians in Canada.
Mr Olumide Ohunayo, the group Spokesperson, registered the association’s displeasure in a statement issued in Lagos on Saturday.
The stranded Nigerians had sought permission to return to Nigeria due to the prevalent global lockdown caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said the airline was denied landing rights by the Canadian authorities on the grounds that the Nigerian carrier did not have licence to undertake commercial flights into the country.
Onyeama said the Federal Government rejected in totality, “the nebulous safety concerns conveyed by the government of Canada”.
Ohunayo, however, said the group viewed the Canadian Government’s action as not only an unfriendly act, but an unwarranted discriminatory and anti- competition acts bordering on avoidable aero-politics.
“The demand of our common humanity at these challenging times posed by the ravaging COVID-19 requires maximum cooperation of all.
“We, therefore, request our government, especially the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Aviation to stand firm against this discriminatory and unfriendly act.
“Air Peace remains Nigeria’s flagship, duly authorised by Nigeria for the evacuation mission of its distressed citizens in Canada,” he said.
Ohunayo said in the diplomatic spirit of respect and cooperation among nations, the initiative urged the Federal Government to persuade Canada to review its position and bring succour to the stranded Nigerians.
The Federal Government had so far evacuated no fewer than 600 Nigerians from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) United Kingdom (UK) and United States (U.S).
This was part of the measures to bring back 4,000 Nigerians from all over the world willing to return to the country following the COVID-19 pandemic.