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Nigerian govt, EU meet over flights’ ban, access to airspace

The Federal Government and the European Union envoys met on Friday in Abuja to review the ban on some airlines from flying into the country.

The federal government had on September 5 banned some airlines including Lufthansa, Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from operating in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who briefed journalists at the end of the closed-door meeting, said the meeting was at the instance of the EU envoys.

He added that the meeting also discussed the issue relating to access to the European airspace by passengers coming from Nigeria.

The minister said: “We understand that this has created some concerns and tensions, so we are here to listen to each other, diplomatically and politely.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Nigerian govt shuts airspace, notifies foreign airlines

“That is in a friendly manner to try and see how we can begin to resolve outstanding issues of concern on either side.

“So, what we have asked the European side, to let us have is the detailed information on Nigerians that can access European space from Nigeria.

“So, which category of Nigerians can in this present time and with the release and restrictions announced by the EU are affected? Who are the people considered on essential travel?

“And what are the chances of an average Nigerian to visit a European country from here?

“So, they need to give us that information so that every Nigerian will be in a position to know whether they can access the European space irrespective of the fact whether they have a visa or no visa.

“There are a lot of Nigerians who have long-term visas, two-year Schengen visa, and so forth, and clearly, not all of them are able or have the right now as it stands, to enter Europe. So, we want to have that information.”

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