The Federal Government has lifted the suspension placed on Emirates Airline in Nigeria.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika announced this during a briefing on Friday. He said the decision was reached after negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Emirates Airlines’ home country.
He added that UAE has also removed all travel restrictions on Nigerians.
The FG had previously banned Emirates from flying into Nigeria over discriminatory policies on Nigerians as regards to COVID-19 protocols by the UAE. He however disclosed that the lifting of the ban was without conditions.
“Today we 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 Airlines.
“From today (Friday), all the impediments on Emirates have been lifted and that the airline can now operate in Nigeria,” he said.
Sirika expressed his appreciation for the understanding shown by Nigerians despite the obvious hardships experienced because of the spat between the two countries.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema who was also at the briefing where the announcement was made noted that the Nigerian Government recognises that the United Arab Emirates has a responsibility to protect the lives of her citizens thus whatever measures that they had taken was for the interest of her citizens.
He said the negotiation that led to the renewed relationship was a balanced one and that it was a win-win for both countries.
Nigeria-Dubai Diplomatic Row
There had been a diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates, UAE, following disagreements between both countries.
Direct flights between both countries were suspended in March over issues relating to COVID-19 protocol.
The Federal Government of Nigeria earlier stopped the UAE national carrier, Emirates Airline from subjecting Nigerian travellers to additional rapid antigen test as against its stipulated negative PCR test at the Lagos and Abuja airports before departure.
Emirates airline then shut down flights to and from Nigeria owing to the disagreement between the airline and the aviation authorities on the propriety of subjecting passengers travelling from Nigeria to emergency COVID-19 protocols.
After an interface between the authorities of the Aviation Ministry and Emirates airline, flights resumed but Emirates airline continued to conduct tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria, a development the Federal Government frowned on and thus suspended the airline from flying to and from Nigeria.