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Emirates ban: FG asks UAE to lift ‘discriminatory’ travel restrictions

On March 25, 2021, the UAE embassy in Abuja announced a new COVID-19 travel protocols for Nigeria.

The federal government has asked authorities of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to remove its discriminatory travel protocol put in place against Nigeria in the wake of the resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic.

Boss Mustapha, chairman of the presidential task force (PTF) and secretary to the government of the federation, said this during the presidential steering committee (PSC) press briefing in Abuja on Monday.

“This is not applicable for UAE nationals who are returning to the UAE and members of diplomatic missions.”

On February 1, 2021, Emirates Airline had directed that Nigerian travellers at the Lagos and Abuja airports must conduct rapid COVID-19 tests before departure. This led to a ban on Emirates flights in Nigeria.

The ban was lifted after the airline agreed to stop the rapid antigen tests. But the federal government reintroduced the ban on March 15, explaining that Emirates had continued to conduct rapid antigen tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria.

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.

Speaking during the press briefing, Mustapha said the FG is currently in talks 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.”

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Checks by TheCable on the Emirates website on rules for travelling to Dubai shows that passengers are not allowed “to enter Dubai if you have been in or transited through South Africa or Nigeria in the last 14 days before travelling to Dubai.”

“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.”

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