The Federal Government has warned Emirates Airline against the alleged discriminatory profiling of Nigerian travellers.
Speaking on Monday during a media briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) in Abuja, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, described the alleged act as unacceptable.
He said: “It is only one aviation. So we found this position to be discriminatory against our nation and is therefore unacceptable.
“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 noted UAE has not been fair to Nigeria, adding that the country has not treated some African countries like Ghana and Rwanda with higher COVID-19 deaths.
“Ghanaians, Rwandans can go to Dubai direct while Nigerians cannot. So this is country-specific, and we will not accept it.
“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 added.
Sirika said while KLM has reviewed its position on the COVID-19 test, the United Arab Emirate has remained adamant.
He, however, noted that civil aviation is guided by agreements, international cooperation, and binding on all parties.
Recall that Emirates had announced the suspension of flights to Nigeria 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.