By Chinedu Eze in Lagos and Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
At last, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will start issuing visa to Nigerians from today while the country’s mega airline carrier, Emirates Airlines, would start flight operations to the country from tomorrow.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika gave the hint yesterday while expressing the readiness of the UAE to begin the issuance of visas to Nigerians to enable them access to the UAE, which was the ‘Condition Precedent’ by the Federal Government of Nigeria to Emirates Airline before it would recommence flights to the country.
Sirika wrote via his twitter handle: @hadisirika, that: “UAE confirmed that they will begin the issuance of visas from October 8, 2020.”
The minister spelt out the conditions given by the UAE authorities to travellers to be able to travel to the Gulf country.
According to Sirika, “Travelers will have a return ticket, hotel booking, negative PCR result and a health insurance (similar to Schengen requirement). Health insurance can be paid through travel agents/airline.”
Emirates flights into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, were suspended on March 21, 2020.
Sirika in his twitter further wrote: “Similar to Schengen requirement, this tone might mean that there is a likelihood that the European airlines, such as Air France, Lufthansa, and KLM, are looking forward to restarting operations soon, having mentioned the phrase ‘similar to Schengen requirement’.”
On September 18, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 sub-committee met with European Union ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban, and Sirika said: “The meeting progressed well.”
The disapproval of the Nigerian Government to allow flights from EU countries was consequent upon the application of the ‘Principle of Reciprocity’, and this affected the operations of Lufthansa, Air France, and KLM.
THISDAY learnt that the federal government is dealing with the airlines strictly in response to the attitude of their host countries to Nigerian citizens; and as they review their policies on Nigeria, the federal government would do the same.