The United Arab Emirates (UAE) General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), yesterday, replied the federal government over the reason it offered for the suspension of flights to Dubai in the past four months.

The Minister of Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, had during a briefing by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, described the protocols introduced by the UAE as discriminatory, saying it was targeted at only Nigerians.

Sen Sirika made the remarks against the backdrop of the controversy trailing the suspension of flights between Nigeria and UAE which is one of the most lucrative routes for airlines and Nigerian travel agents.

UAE had introduced a rapid antigen test in addition to the negative PCR test stipulated by the federal government. This was rejected by Nigeria, and on the basis of that, UAE suspended flights between Nigeria and UAE.

There was a confusion recently when the UAE lifted the ban and Emirates Airlines announced the resumption of flights but less than 24 hours later the ban was reinstated.

But the UAE civil aviation authority in a statement posted on the country’s news agency’s website on Sunday night denied targeting Nigeria or any particular airline in the measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it was committed to upholding the highest standards of public health and safety.

UAE said it took a number of “difficult but necessary decisions throughout this pandemic to protect the health of those in the country.”

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