The Aviation Ministry has said that the ban on Emirates airline, the official carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was due to its discriminatory policy on the COVID-19 test for Nigerians.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu told ICIR on Tuesday
Odaudu explained that the insistence of Emirates airline on bringing passengers into the country and refusing to take them to the UAE was discriminatory and the federal government would not continue to allow that.
Earlier on Monday, Aviation minister Hadi Sirika had disclosed that the federal government placed a ban on Emirates until further notice.
Odaudu added that other international airlines had agreed to the guidelines set up by Nigerian regulatory bodies except Emirates airline.
“Emirate has insisted on subjecting Nigerians to extra test other than the one agreed on with other airlines and the guidelines set up by the regulatory bodies.
“Now they agree to fly passengers into Nigeria but refused to fly passengers out of Nigeria, which we consider discriminatory and insensitive,” Odaudu said.
For over one month, there have been continuous bans on flights from and to Nigeria by Emirates and the federal government.
On Thursday, February 11, Emirates announced the suspension of outbound flights from Nigeria to Dubai, stating that inbound flights to Nigeria would still be in operation.
The Emirates is insisting that for passengers to be airlifted from Nigeria into UAE, they are to conduct an RDT test in addition to the PCR test after arrival.
However, the Nigerian government had said Emirates was demanding an RDT test conducted in unapproved laboratories from Nigerians after the PCR had been done against the stipulated directive.
When asked if this could be in connection with reports of alleged fake PCR tests in Nigeria, Odaudu said there were recognised laboratories in Nigeria where authentic tests could be done.
Sirika had also argued that it made no ‘scientific sense’ for Emirates to require a PCR test for passengers within 72 hours of their flight and then subject them to an antigens rapid test at the airport and another PCR test on arrival in their countries.