Again, UAE imposes travel ban on Nigerians

Barely forty-eight hours after the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced the lifting of the hitherto imposed travel ban on the trio of Nigeria, India and South Africa, the Middle East nation on Monday morning rescind the decision when it disclosed that contrary to its earlier pronouncements, all exit and entry flights to and from the cities of Lagos and Abuja into the UAE nation are suspended effective June 21 (yesterday Monday) till further notice.

An unhealthy diplomatic row broke out between the Dubai authorities and the Nigerian government in February 2021 when the former announced a vexious modalities for the conduct of its Covid-19 tests on Nigerians travelling to and from Dubai to Nigeria. An action the Nigerian authorities viewed as disrespectful of the country’s sovereignty.

Whilst the UAE government has yet to give reasons for the swift U-turn, the country’s carrier, Emirates Airline in a statement online announced that customers travelling to and from Lagos and Abuja will not be accepted for travel, while those who have been to – or connected through – Nigeria in the last 14 days will not be permitted to board from any other point to the UAE.

It said “We regret the inconvenience caused, and affected customers should contact their booking agent or Emirates call center for re-booking,” said the airline. “Emirates remains committed to Nigeria, and we look forward to resuming passenger services when conditions allow.”

Also, the airline said that its flights from South Africa will remain suspended until July 6, in line with the country’s government directives which restrict entry for travellers originating from South Africa into the UAE.