Posted by Sade Williams
The Federal government has lifted ban on Emirates flights into Nigeria.
This was announced on the verified twitter handle of Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika @hadisirika on Wednesday.
Accoording to him , “UAE has written to state that they agree to issue visas to Nigerians, consequently decision has been reached to allow Emirates to fly into Nigeria.
“Commencement of the Visa issuance is condition precedent. Please bear with this unusual situation. Many thanks” , he tweeted.
It would be recalled that on September 18, 2020, the Federal Government withdrew the approval given to Emirates Airline to fly into Nigeria.
It was learnt that the decision to withdraw the approval was due to the refusal of United Arab Emirates government to lift visa ban on Nigerians.
Sirika had explained through his twitter handle that the decision to revoke the approval was arrived at after a meeting with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had with European Union Ambassadors, who wanted a of review their status.
“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 and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st Sept. 2020”, the tweet had read.
Sirika had before then, on September 3, 2020, approved Emirates and 12 other international airlines to fly into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport(MMA), Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.
In a latest statement from the Ministry of Aviation, the minister said ‘the commencement of the airline’s operations would however depend on the commencement of visa issuance by the UAE.
“The Minister appreciates the understanding of everyone who has been negatively affected by the recent policy decisions which forbade some airlines from operating into the country when Nigeria reopened its air space to international flights”.
The decisions, he said, were taken to protect the interests of the nation and its citizens who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, same Nigeria treats other nationals.
It will recalled that Emirates Airlines was initially given approval to operate into the country, an approval which was withdrawn following the inability of Nigerians to obtain/use valid tourist visas to enter the UAE.