Commodities

Nigeria will bar entry for citizens of countries that block Nigerians - minister

Credit: REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja

Nigeria will bar entry to nationals of countries that do not allow Nigerians to enter amid the new coronavirus pandemic, the aviation minister said on Friday.

LAGOS, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Nigeria will bar entry to nationals of countries that do not allow Nigerians to enter amid the new coronavirus pandemic, the aviation minister said on Friday.

Nigeria is preparing to re-open its airports to international flights on Aug. 29, for the first time since March, and is developing the rules and protocols to enable the resumption.

Minister Hadi Sirika told airline and travel industry representatives on a Zoom call late on Friday that a reciprocal ban on travel would apply to both airlines and citizens.

"If they ban both the passengers and the carriers together, then that's what's going to happen," Sirika said.

A day earlier, a spokesman for Sirika said the reciprocal ban targeted landing rights for aircraft, rather than citizens. But Sirika said completely reciprocal measures were a matter of fairness to Nigerians.

"Our (COVID-19) numbers are not equal to the numbers we've seen in Europe," Sirika said, adding that with travel bans, "we feel that it is discriminating against our people."

Nigeria has 50,951 confirmed coronavirus cases and 992 deaths.

(Reporting by Libby George; editing by Diane Craft)

((Libby.George@thomsonreuters.com; +234 809 065 5059 ; Reuters Messaging: libby.george@thomsonreuters.com))

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