By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
After many months of suspension the Nigerian government has finally lifted the ban on the flight operations of Emirates Airlines, saying the flights from the United Arab Emirates to Nigeria has commence immediately.
This cheering news was disclosed on Friday night by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who also said the ban was lifted after the stringent conditions put by the Emirates Airlines against Nigeria were removed.
Sirika said the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 had been working tirelessly to achieve this feat and the letter from Emirates Airlines agreeing to the change in stringent conditions came in on Friday.
Also speaking at the briefing, the National Incident Manager of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Dr Mukhtar Muhammad, said the negotiation was for the best of the country and both Nigeria and UAE did what could protect their citizens.
It would be recalled that the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Engr. Musa Nuhu, had said Emirates Airline will resume its flight operations in and out of Nigeria soon.
Nuhu while speaking during a briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 said there were ongoing discussions with the airline and the outcome would be disclosed soon.
Speaking then, Nuhu had said: “As regards the issue of emirates airline resumption of flight to Nigeria, the PSC deliberated extensively on this matter and the gap has been significantly closed between the position of Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“They have met some of our requirements and we are just waiting for one confirmation,” he said.
Nigerian government had in March banned the airline from operating in the country over its continuous refusal to fly passengers without a pre-boarding rapid diagnostic test (RTD).
However, the lifting of the ban, if really it becomes effective, will bring a great relief for Nigerian citizens living in the UAE who are bearing the brunt of the imbroglio between UAE and Nigerian governments for the past nine months.