Dubai-based Emirates is open to a mutual resolution with the Nigerian government and the Central Bank of Nigeria for the repatriation of its blocked funds.

“It has been five months since Emirates suspended operations to and from Nigeria, and during this time, we have seen little progress in the clearing of our backlog of funds,” the airline said in a statement issued on March 17.

“As of today, Emirates still has a substantial balance of blocked funds that have yet to be repatriated, and the progressive clearing of our backlog remains beset with constant delays. Today, around 50% of the amount approved for clearing within our backlog is still overdue for repatriation,” it added.

Emirates said it made many concerted efforts to enable a swift return to Nigeria by proposing several solutions and measures to recover its funds, as well as engaging in dialogue with government stakeholders and industry bodies.

“Regretfully and despite many media reports of public assurances made at the highest levels, solutions continue to be stalled,” the statement said.

Emirate said air services for travellers and businesses seeking global market opportunities and for investments – all supported through air transport and critical to Nigeria’s economic recovery - will continue to dwindle unless there is a committed strategy by the local authorities to deliver concrete action.

The airline remains committed to providing a roadmap that includes firm measures to prevent future repatriation accumulation challenges and delays, urging the authorities to work hand-in-hand to ensure Nigerian travellers and businesses have unfettered connectivity and access to its global network.

Emirates suspended flights to and from Nigeria from October 29, 2022, over blocked funds.

(Editing by Seban Scaria )