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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have again thrown inbound and outbound Nigerian travelers into a fresh round of travel chaos as the UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) have suspended entry for passengers from Nigeria and three other African countries.
The other nations affected are Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. The new travel rule has made Nigerians wishing to come home for the Yuletide engage in last-minute flight change to other European, African, and US carriers.
The implication of the new travel rule is that Nigerians can’t use the other available Abu Dhabi-based airline, Etihad which had seen an unprecedented rise in passenger traffic as an alternative to Emirates Airlines that has stopped flight services to Nigeria because of the Nigeria-UAE spat that had spanned ten months.
The UAE-Nigeria row had escalated over refusal to seed three frequencies to Nigeria’s flag carrier airline, Air Peace.
The action forced the Nigerian government to withdraw Emirates winter schedule in retaliation to the denial of Air Peace the three frequencies requested at Sharjah Airport.
The Federal Government through the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had reinstated Emirates’ frequencies after the UAE authorities granted seven slots to Air Peace in the country.
While both Emirates and Air Peace have not resumed flights, the UAE authorities issued a new travel restriction which it blamed on the rising cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
The statement by the GCAA and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority confirmed the “suspension of entry of travelers from Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Nigeria on all flights of national and foreign carriers, as well as transit passengers coming from them, as of Saturday, December 25 at 7:30 pm.
The suspension includes those who were present during the 14 days before coming to the UAE,” the statement added.