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The Federal Government has banned all incoming and outbound flights from the Emirates Airline.
Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, disclosed this on Monday, during the presidential task force on COVID-19 (PTF) briefing in Abuja.
He said the ban which is to take effect from Wednesday is because of the airline insistence on conducting rapid antigen tests for passengers prior to departure from Nigeria despite the government’s opposition.
“Regarding KLM and Emirate airlines, at the time that we resumed flight, these two airlines made demands that there would be PCR test for passengers within 72 hours of their flight and there will also be antigens rapid test at the airport and also a PCR test on arrival in their countries,” he said.
“It is devoid of any scientific reasons because the virus itself will incubate at least within or after 72 hours.”
The aviation minister noted that KLM has accepted to bring passengers in and out of the country by having only a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours.
“Emirates did not accept that position so we have asked Emirates to be banned for operations midnight of Wednesday and that has been communicated to them since yesterday.” he said.
In February, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) placed a 72-hour suspension on outbound Emirates flights from Nigeria.
The NCAA said in a circular Emirates Airlines violated guidelines put in place by the presidential taskforce on COVID-19.
According to the circular, the airline has been airlifting passengers from Nigeria using rapid antigen tests conducted by laboratories not approved by regulatory authorities.