The Federal Government has counseled the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to lift its discriminatory travel protocol put in place against Nigeria as a result of the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.
The Chairman ,the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mallam Boss Mustapha, during the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) press briefing in Abuja, said the Emirates Airline, on February 1, 2021 had directed that Nigerian travellers at the Lagos and Abuja airports must conduct rapid Covid-19 tests before departure. The statement, he added led to a ban on Emirates flight operations in the country also.
Nigeria, however, lifted the ban after the airline agreed to stop the rapid antigen tests.
Nigerian government later sanctioned the airline with another ban on March 15, 2021 as a result of continued conduct of rapid antigen tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria by the Emirates.
Mustapha, in his address, noted the federal government at the moment is in discussion with its UAE counterpart on the possibility of resuming reciprocal international flights.
“For some time now, Nigeria has been discussing with the authorities of the UAE, Emirates on the resumption of flights between the two countries.
“The PSC will urge the United Arab Emirates to remove the country-specific and discriminatory practices against Nigeria. Discussions are however ongoing and we can assure Nigerians that the outcome will be in the interest of the country.
“This is not applicable for UAE nationals who are returning to the UAE and members of diplomatic missions.
“Members of diplomatic missions travelling from Nigeria must present a negative Covid‑19 PCR test certificate from one of the authorised laboratories in Nigeria,” Mustapha said.
Recall that on March 25, 2021, the UAE embassy in Abuja announced a new Covid-19 travel protocols for Nigeria as measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country.