Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, has accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of applying double standards in enforcing its COVID-19 visitor protocol, claiming that the government only decided to prohibit Nigerians from travelling directly from the country to Dubai and other places.
Despite the achievements gained in the fight against the virus in Nigeria, the minister told the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 briefing on Monday that the COVID-19 protocol set for Nigeria was not the same as what the Arab nation declared for other countries.
According to him, studies indicated that Nigeria’s protocol differed from that of other West African countries, which is why many Nigerians now go through the airports of the country’s neighbours, the Benin Republic and Ghana.
“Nigeria has no issue with Emirates, rather against the preferential treatment that the UAE government gave to other countries aside from Nigeria,” he added.
In contrast to Nigerians, the UAE government has allowed citizens of other countries, such as the Benin Republic and Ghana, to travel straight from their countries to Dubai, the UAE’s commercial centre.
Meanwhile, Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the PSC on COVID-19 said the federal government would continue to speak with UAE officials.
Mustapha indicated that the focus of the discussion would be on settling the issue of passenger mobility between Nigeria and the UAE on Emirates flights. According to him, the safeguarding of Nigerians’ interests remains a top priority.
Recall that, Government of the United Arab Emirate has put a hold on Nigerians’ acquirement of Direct Employment Visas so as to curb the increasing rate of crime situations Nigerians have been perpetrating in the country.
Nigerians living in the UAE are complaining about how often some Nigerians perpetrate frauds, steal and con other residents in the Arab country so much that it has affected how people over there view Nigerians.