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This was in response to remarks made by the Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika last week, where he accused the UAE of introducing a COVID-19 protocol that was not backed by science and tended to target only Nigerians.
In a statement released by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the UAE said that like every government, it had had to make a number of difficult but necessary decisions since the outbreak of the pandemic to protect the health of those in the country.
“Over the course of the past 12 months, the UAE has introduced a variety of special measures to govern travel between the UAE and a number of countries. These measures have sometimes been tailored to the particular characteristics of certain areas.
“These decisions have been taken after reviewing the prevalence of concerning variants, the number of passengers arriving from each country who subsequently test positive for COVID-19, and the integrity of domestic testing facilities. At no point has the UAE ever given certain airlines exemptions from these measures,” the statement published by the Emirates News Agency said.
The GCAA added that it would continue to work tirelessly with its international counterparts to find ways of facilitating travel without compromising public health and safety, and in line with international aviation standards.
The regulatory agency said it looked forward to reviewing ‘constructive responses’ from relevant authorities in Nigeria, in furtherance of consultations held between both countries over recent months and would continue to closely monitor the current situation to come up with updated measures that were in the best interests of the safety and well-being of citizens, residents and visitors.
In addition to the perceived discriminatory COVID-19 protocol against Nigerians, the UAE has moved to regulate visa access for Nigerians into the country. Many applications from Nigerians seeking to renew their work permits have been denied and their jobs are at stake.