A security and human rights advocacy group, Save Nigeria Movement, SNM, has cautioned airline operators against desperate moves to blackmail the Nigerian Government over repatriation of funds.
Convener of the group, Rev Solomon Semaka, alleged sinister plots by both local and external collaborators of a smear campaign against the Nigerian government with focus on the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Semaka spoke in Owerri, Imo State, on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of 2022 Police Strategic Retreat for Senior officers from the rank of commissioners of Police.
His allegations follow threats by some foreign airlines to suspend operations in the country following alleged delay in repatriation of revenue.
” This plots, according to our investigations , to say the very least are unfair and unconscionable given the true position of events leading to the debacle between airlines and aviation authorities over repatriation of their revenue in dollars.
“Recall that the aviation Minister Sen. Hadi Sirika had on many occasions made the position of government quite very clear on the subject matter of revenue repatriation due to foreign airlines “
“The Association of Travel Agencies of Nigeria had also commended the CBN for her intervention when the bank released part of the revenue not too long ago, it further urged the beneficiaries to react to the positive development but to no avail to our knowledge “
“Again , the CBN in August made it clear of her role which was focused on a seamless transfer of revenue due to any operator , and the apex bank backed up her word with the release of about $265,000,000 to the airline operators ” What more?
“All information at our disposal points to one direction , that the CBN is only interested in releasing funds to whoever is entitled to it and has done so according to laid down procedure as confirmed by recent releases to appropriate airlines.
“Regardless of the established innocence on the part of the apex bank , attempts to drag the Central Bank of Nigeria into sundry aviation matters is rather a needless distraction at a time the apex bank is consolidating on the total recovery of the economy,” he said.
Semaka further noted that politicians and foreign agents should place the interest of the country first before their political and economic agenda.
“How does a foreign airline that has enjoyed enormous goodwill from the country in terms of tax waivers, licenses suddenly turn against the nation focusing on critical institutions such as the CBN due to a normal procedural delay in release of its revenue ?
“This is unfair” and to say the least the Central Bank who are just the middle men can not be a scapegoat or an instrument of vengeance against the Nigerian government” Any body is free to operate or live , but they can not bring down our nation’s institutions before exiting the country “
He adviced the concerned airlines to explore a more honourable path of dialogue to find common ground devoid of blackmail and arm-twisting which is below International standards.
The group warned that any attempt to sponsor negative narratives against the Central Bank of Nigeria in whatever guise will be resisted with consequences and urged the general public to be vigilant while disregarding such sponsored smear campaigns aimed at distracting the Apex bank in her drive to stabilise the economy.
“Ladies and Gentlemen , this is election time ,I also take the chance to refer you to the recent dramatisation and politicisation of a mere security alert by the US and UK governments to her citizens in Nigeria , something the Departments of State Service, DSS, has done severally, this suggests a clear plan to destabilise the nation using any means by external agents with their local collaborators.