The Federal Government has lifted the ban it placed on Emirates Airline from flying into Nigeria without conditions.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja in a statement by Mr James Odaudu, Director, Public Affairs in the Ministry of Aviation. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government had barred Emirates from flying into Nigeria over discriminatory policies on Nigerians as regards to COVID-19 protocols by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
According to Sirika, the move came in response to the yearnings of Nigerian travelers and after painstaking negotiations with the UAE, the Emirates Airlines home country.
The minister further said that the UAE had also removed all travel restrictions on Nigerians. “We have received communication from UAE, removing some of the conditions of travel of which we had concerns about. Having done so, we feel we should lift the ban on the suspension of Emirates Airline. “All the impediments on Emirates have been lifted and that the airline can now operate in Nigeria,“ he said. Sirika lauded the understanding of Nigerians in spite of the hardships experienced as a result of the spat between the two countries.
Also speaking, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, noted that Nigeria recognised that UAE had a responsibility to protect the lives of her citizens. He added that whatever measures the UAE had taken was for the best interest of her citizens. He said that the negotiation that led to the renewed relationship was a balanced one and was a win-win for both countries.
Onyema, who reiterated that though Nigeria had always had an excellent relationship with UAE, added that the negotiations had made the relationship even stronger.
On his part, the National Incidence Manager of the Presidential Steering Committee on Covid-19, Dr Muktar Mohammed, commended the leadership provided by members of the Committee in ensuring resolution of the impasse. Mohammed also disclosed that the Committee was watching closely the developments within the Southern African regions with regards to the discovery of a new variant of the virus.