The new pre-boarding COVID test requirement placed on Nigerian travellers by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Netherlands may lead to the suspension of flights to those countries.
Under the new requirement, travellers are to do a rapid test at the airports in Lagos and Abuja four hours to their outbound flights.
Musa Nuhu, the director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), complained about the “extra requirement” at the briefing by the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 on Monday.
“They are adding an extra requirement of having a rapid test done four hours before departure or before you board,” he said.
“For us, passengers do the test 72 hours before departure. The PTF recognises the rights of all countries to put in measures to protect their citizens just like Nigeria has done.
“If they insist on having these additional tests done, then PTF has decided that their operations will be suspended into Nigeria.”
He said these countries and airlines “cannot determine for Nigeria who to approve or how these tests will be done”.
Nuhu said the government will hold discussions with the airlines and countries involved.
This will enable the PTF to have a clear and transparent process on determining who will do these tests “based on the requirement for accreditation by NCDC, National Laboratory Council, Lagos state government for Lagos airport and FCT for Abuja airport”.
There have been reports of Nigerians testing positive on arrival in other countries despite carrying COVID-negative certificates.