Nigerian travellers have narrow choices of external destinations they can go when the authorities resume international flights on 5 September.
Last week, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika announced that Nigeria will resume post-COVID-19 flights, at two of the nation’s gateways, Abuja and Lagos.
He gave the tentative date of 29 August, which was shifted by one week on Thursday.
He was quick to add last week, that the country will only accept flights from countries, that have no existing travel ban against Nigerians.
Many countries, amid the COVID-19 pandemic shut their airspace and closed their borders since March. Some of them are now easing things up, but with a lot of restrictions.
Britain has Nigeria on its travel ban, just like the United States, which imposed its ban in February.
UK, the most favourite destination of Nigerian travellers, pre-COVID, has drawn up an exempt list of countries and territories. Nigeria i conspicuously missing.
In Africa, only the islands of Mauritius, Reunion, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha are are on the list.
For Nigerians, flights to Britain can only be on ”essential” only basis, such as medicare, studies or joining families.
Those coming in outside of the exempt countries will have to abide by the 14-day quarantine rule that was put in place on June 8, including travellers coming from the United States, with the world’s heaviest coronavirus caseload.
While Nigerians are welcome in the United Arab Emirates, they cannot go to Cyprus and Saudi Arabia.
The UAE clarified recently that Nigerians are welcome, amid speculations that they may have been banned because of the reputation damage caused by the arrest of international fraudsters, Ramon Abbas a.k.a Hushpuppi and Olalekan Ponle a.k.a Woodberry..
The EU has also slammed an iron curtain against Nigerian travellers. It means Nigerian travellers are not welcome for now in almost all its 28-member countries.
These are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden
EU has an existing ban on MedView Airline from its air space. So the ban of Nigerian travellers is a double blow.
However, Nigerians are not exceptions, as Americans, almost the entire Latin America nationals, China, Russia are on the list.
The exceptions are Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. EU is constantly updating its list.