UAE should write official letter to state lifting of travel ban – Nuhu, NCAA boss

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The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt Musa Nuhu has explained that the Federal Government of Nigeria is yet to receive an official letter from the United Arab Emirates in relation to a recent report that UAE has approved flight resumption to Nigeria and11 other countries.

Recently, it was reported that the United Arab Emirates, has approved the resumption of all inbound flights for national and international carriers from 12 African countries.

The 12 countries from where transit passengers too, will be allowed into the UAE, include Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

But in a chat with journalists on Friday, Capt Nuhu stated that Nigeria is yet to receive an official letter from the UAE.

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READ ALSO: UAE lifts entry restrictions on Nigeria, 11 other African countries

Capt Nuhu said “The Country Manager of Emirates Airlines came to my office yesterday and he submitted a letter showing us a letter of release by Dubai Airport lifting the ban on Nigeria and 11 other African countries.

“Of course, we still have some protocols that have to be complied with. I think it is acceptable”, he added.

According to Nuhu the issue of flight operations between Nigeria and UAE is based on Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA).

He said “Nigeria as a government, don’t deal with an airline, we deal with the authorities of UAE. So, what I told him is that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of UAE should write to us officially through diplomatic channels. When we have that, it means the Nigerian Government is in official communication with the UAE. As soon as that letter comes in, I am sure it is going to come maybe today or tomorrow, we will act on it.”

“Unofficially, we are not aware because I need the UAE CAA to officially inform me through government to government channels. So, when we get that it becomes official”, Nuhu emphasised.

The NCAA DG, however, noted that, when the official letter has been received, then, the federal government will have to decide on that.

“We have the Ministry of Aviation, which deals with matters of policies and also, we have the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on Covid-19. However, we don’t think it will take time to decide once we receive the letter officially”, Nuhu added.

On treatment given to Nigeria’s carrier, Air Peace in UAE, Nuhu said “I am not so sure on the measures you are talking about, but, we cannot choose for Air Peace whether it’s Dubai or Sharjah it wants to fly into. It depends on the airline to choose the airport it wants to fly into and the approval given by the UAE Government based on our BASA arrangement with them.”

We will support Air Peace and if Air Peace is having some issues there, we will see how we can help with the authorities there too so that they won’t have any problem and the airline can resume flight services to the airport.