By Kasim Sumaina
The Nigerian government on Wednesday said it had agreed to lift the ban placed on Emirates Airlines from operating into and out of the country based on the undertaking by the authorities of the United Arabs Emirates (UAE).
According to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, the commencement of the airline’s operations would however depend on the commencement of visa issuance by the UAE.
Sirika, in a statement by Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu in Abuja, said that UAE had written to state that they agreed to issue visas to Nigerians, consequently decision had been reached to allow Emirates to fly into Nigeria.
He noted, “commencement of the Visa issuance is condition precedent. Please bear with this unusual situation.”
The statement further read: “Minister appreciates the understanding of everyone who has been negatively affected by the recent policy decisions which forbade some airlines from operating into the country when Nigeria reopened its air space to international flights.”
Sirika added that the decisions were taken to protect the interests of the nation and its citizens who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, same way Nigeria treats other nationals.
It will be recalled that Emirates Airlines was initially given approval to operate into the country, an approval which was withdrawn following the inability of Nigerians to obtain/use valid tourist visas to enter the UAE.