Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama’s move to patronise local carriers for the evacuation of Nigerians abroad has suffered a setback.

The Canadian government had denied a local airline, Air Peace, landing right to evacuate Nigerian citizens in Ottawa on the ground that it has no license to undertake commercial flight to that country.

Mr Onyeama confirmed the development on Thursday at the daily media briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

He however said his ministry was hopeful that the Canadian government would reverse its decision.

He revealed that the Nigerian High Commissioner in Canada had opened discussion with his host government for it to have a rethink.

He said: “The question on evacuation of Nigerians from Canada and the news that the Canadian government had denied landing right to the Nigerian carrier that was supposed to undertake the evacuation.

“Indeed, the Canadian government denied landing right on the grounds that this particular carrier, the Nigerian carrier, doesn’t have license to undertake commercial flight to that country.

“Our High Commissioner in Canada is engaging with the Canadian government on this issue and we are hopeful that we can have the decision reversed. The argument that it is being put forward, which is a strong argument is that this isn’t a regular commercial flight to Canada to take passengers. But this is an emergency flight and there is a difference between the two.

“So, the negotiations are ongoing and we hope that there will be a positive result.”