Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has tasked the Ministry of Aviation and its relevant agencies to take the necessary reciprocal measures permissible under the laws against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based Emirates Airline and the Netherlands over pre-departure tests.
The taskforce made this threat yesterday tasked the Ministry of Aviation to ensure its reciprocal measures are permissible under the laws and other international obligations.
Chairman of PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at the routine briefing of the committee in Abuja on Monday.
Mustapha said, “For over a month, Nigeria has been engaged with the authorities of the UAE and The Netherlands over pre-departure testing requirements passengers should meet before travelling from Nigeria.”
He said the PTF has mandated the Ministry of Aviation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to take necessary reciprocal measures as may be permissible under the laws and other international obligations which we are expected to discharge
Recall that in February 2021, the Nigeria government banned Emirates albeit temporarily because the airline violated guidelines issued by the COVID-19 PTF.
The airline accepted passengers for boarding that had rapid antigen COVID test certificates issued by laboratories, not on the list of ones approved by the authorities.
UAE and The Netherlands face the ban on flying passengers out of Nigeria again because the airline had been using rapid COVID-19 tests on customers before they were allowed to board flights to Dubai.
The new rapid testing requirement is believed to have been added to address concerns that some passengers were presenting fraudulent PCR certificates to get around existing pre-flight testing rules.
Passengers travelling from Lagos and Abuja to Dubai are already required to take a COVID-19 test within 72-hours of departure and a second on arrival in Dubai.
Only laboratories approved by the Dubai authorities should be used because of fears that some testing centres weren’t providing accurate results.