The federal government has threatened to suspend flights from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Netherlands as a reciprocal action.

Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation, was speaking during the presidential task force on COVID-19 (PTF) briefing in Abuja on Monday.

 

Mustapha said the ministry of aviation and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have been directed to take necessary reciprocal measures permissible by law and other international obligations.

 

“For over a month, Nigeria has been engaging with the authorities of the UAE and the Netherlands over pre-departure testing requirements passengers should meet before travelling from Nigeria,” Mustapha said.

On February 1, 2021, Emirates Airline, which operates from Dubai, announced that it would conduct rapid COVID-19 tests for Nigerian travellers at the Lagos and Abuja airports before departure in addition to banning transit flights operated by other airlines with Nigerians on them.

 

The NCAA opposed this move and placed a 72-hour suspension on outbound Emirates flights from Nigeria.

 

At the time, the agency said the airline has been airlifting passengers from Nigeria using rapid antigen tests conducted by laboratories not approved by regulatory authorities.

 

The ban was lifted after the carrier agreed to withdraw the rapid antigen testing done prior to the departure flights from Nigeria.