The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has suspended travelers from Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia from entering the country.
Its National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) announced the decision on Friday.
This ban is expected to take effect from Saturday.
The development has created chaos for both inbound and outbound passengers, including Nigerians wishing to come home for the Yuletide.
Some have arranged last-minute flight changes to other European, African and US carriers.
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The new travel rule implies that Nigerians can not use the other available Abu Dhabi-based airline, Etihad, which had seen an unprecedented rise in passenger traffic as an alternative to Emirates.
Emirates stopped flight services to Nigeria because of the recently resolved spat between Nigeria-UAE.
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 NCEMA 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”.
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The suspension includes those who were present for 14 days before coming to the UAE.
Also on Friday, the Airport Manager of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, Mrs. Victoria shin-Aba, slammed passengers who come to the airport with positive PCR test results.
She said: “People with positive COVID test still come to the Airport to board planes. I don’t know for whatever reason.
“They know with this they can’t travel but they still bring it but definitely they are not allowed to travel.”