‘It’s unacceptable’ — FG condemns ‘unfair’ treatment of Nigerians by Emirates Airline


The federal government says the “discriminatory profiling” of Nigerian travellers by Emirates Airline is unacceptable.

Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, said this on Monday during a media briefing of the presidential steering committee (PSC) in Abuja.


Last week, Emirates had announced the suspension of flights to Nigeria — third time this year — in line with the federal government’s directives.


In February, the airline had instructed Nigerian travellers at the Lagos and Abuja airports to take another PCR test on arrival at Dubai — the directive led to a ban on Emirates flights in Nigeria.

The decision was later reversed when the airline agreed to stop the rapid antigen tests.


In a twist in March, the federal government reintroduced the ban, explaining that Emirates had continued to conduct tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria.


Sirika said civil aviation is guided by agreements, international cooperation, and binding on all parties.

“It is only one aviation. So we found this position to be discriminatory against our nation and is therefore unacceptable,” Sirika said.


“They claimed the reason they are taking this stance against Nigeria is because there are fake results.


“I said there are fake results in UAE, Germany, Italy and other countries globally, but Nigeria has gone ahead to address by ensuring fake results are easily detected even from the phone.


“While Nigeria’s total death is 3,000, Italy in one day was losing 3,000 to COVID-19.”


He added that the death rates in some African countries like Ghana and Rwanda were also higher, but UAE has not treated these countries the same way it is treating Nigeria.


“Ghanaians, Rwandans can go to Dubai direct while Nigerians cannot. So this is country-specific, and we will not accept it,” Sirika added.


“We cannot be the only country that is isolated. In our discussion, they mention that South Africa is included. In their case, they wrote and demanded to be included, so it is by choice.


“It is not Nigeria’s choice that we should be excluded and discriminated against. So the update is that we will escalate the matter, and we are sure they will withdraw this very soon.”


Sirika said while KLM has reviewed its position on the COVID-19 test, the United Arab Emirate has remained adamant.

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