Nigeria Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said on Thursday that his country will ban flights from those countries refusing Nigerian flights permission to land due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictive measures imposed.
Sirika told reporters: “The principle of reciprocity will be applied. If you ban us from coming to your country, the same will apply the other way.”
However, a spokesperson for the minister clarified that Sirika wasn’t referring to banning citizens of these countries, rather meant that landing permits won’t be issued to aircraft coming from those countries that have banned Nigerian carriers.
The director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that authorities were still drafting the list of countries whose carriers won’t be granted permission to land in Nigeria, adding that European Union countries are among those barring Nigerian flights.
Nigerian authorities earlier this week declared their intention to resume international flights on 29 August following a suspension that lasted for almost 5 months. All international flights (except for essential or repatriation flights) have been suspended since March.
The country will start with four daily international flights landing in Lagos and Abuja airports, with Sirika revealing that the number of passengers landing in Nigeria would be initially limited to 1,280 a day.
Nigeria has reported more than 51,000 COVID-19 cases so far with 989 people losing their lives to the disease.