Minister of Aviation of Nigeria, Hadi Sirika, announced the banning of Emirates Airlines from operating scheduled flights to Nigeria effective from September 21st.
This shocking announcement came after the UAE government allegedly refused to renew visas for Nigerians living in Dubai.
Emirates Airlines Banned From Flying To Nigeria
The UAE government was also accused of implementing a visa ban on Nigerians who wish to apply for visas to enter the country.
However, the UAE embassy in Nigeria denies all these allegations.
According to the embassy, they didn’t issue a visa ban on Nigerians; but instead imposed temporary “precautionary measures” to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“At the onset of the COVlD-19 pandemic, the UAE took a number of precautionary measures to combat the virus’ spread, including the temporary suspension on issuing UAE visas for all nationalities as of March 17, 2020.”
This “suspension” is temporary and wasn’t exclusive to just Nigerians.
These measures were also eased after seeing some recovery in air travel demand.
The UAE embassy added:
“After entering the recovery phase of the pandemic, the UAE eased some measures on July 7, permitting visitors from various countries to adhere to the necessary precautionary measures, including by showing negative PCR test results within 92 hours of travelling to the UAE. This includes those visiting from Nigeria.”
Sirika, however, remained firm on the earlier decision to ban Emirates from entering Nigeria.
The PTF sub committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban. The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed & they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st Sept. 2020🇳🇬
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) September 18, 2020
“The principle of reciprocity will be applied.
If you ban us from coming to your country, the same will apply the other way.”
This reciprocity, however, refers to landing rights for the aircrafts only, and not on the UAE nationals entering Nigeria.
What do you think of this reciprocity principle?
Or is Nigeria overreacting?
Photo Credit: ittn