In what can be described as a swift decision, the Federal Government of Nigeria represented by the Presidential Tax Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has lifted the ban on Emirates Airlines flight from Nigeria 24hrs after flight suspension notice.
This was communicated in a letter signed by the Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, dated February 5th and addressed to the airline stating the decision of the Nigerian government to lift suspension of Emirates Airlines flight operation in Nigeria.
The decision of the PTF was predicated on the United Arab Emirate’s (UAE) government to rescind its decision on the requirement of Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) on Emirates passengers prior to departure of all the airline’s flight from Nigeria to Dubai.
Earlier, the government of Nigeria has written to the airline in response to UAE’s initial requirement to either accept passengers without RDT pending when the needed infrastructure and logistics for RDT testing is available in the Country or suspend its flights to and from Nigeria.
This decision was flouted by Emirates Airlines by continuous airlift of passengers from Nigeria using Rapid Antigen Test (RDT) conducted by laboratories that are neither approved nor authorised by the appropriate regulatory bodies.
This violation was meted with immediate ban of Emirates flights from Nigeria while restriction of in-bound passengers airlift was to be effective in 72hrs from Thursday midnight, February 4th, 2021.
Though restriction of Emirates flight has been lifted the regulatory body of airlines in Nigeria, NCAA, however expressed their expectation that the Emirates Airlines will continue to comply with the directives of the PTF on COVID-19 and other protocols of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
In furtherance to the violation of the airline, NCAA noted in its letter that “Emirates Airlines will be duly informed of ongoing enforcement actions by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) with regards to the established non-compliances to PTF directives and protocols”.