The frosty diplomatic relations between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over travel restrictions escalated yesterday.
The UAE authorities directed airlines not to fly any passenger with Nigeria’s international passport into its airports, it was learnt.
But, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 has assured Nigerians that the Federal Government was working assiduously to ensure that the flight restrictions were lifted in about a week.
The UAE’s latest directive, which appears to be a response to Nigeria’s decision to stop flights from the oil-rich Arab country, affects Nigerian passport holders across the globe. The ban may result into heavy losses to both countries as it may affect international trade between them.
Meanwhile, the Middle East country had earlier denied the Nigerian flag carrier airline – Air Peace- from operating to Sharjah, near Dubai, three times a week.
The Arab country had last week joined the United Kingdom(UK), Canada, and Argentina in putting Nigeria on the red lists of countries with positive cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19. With the addition, all flights from Nigeria into the four countries were banned.
Sources said airlines like Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Air, and other international carriers connecting transit flights from their headquarters hubs into Dubai are already refusing to board Nigerians.
Ethiopian Airlines yesterday declined to fly Nigerian passengers to Dubai, according to sources.