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NCAA denies claims of ban on travellers without proof of vaccination

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has refuted a report by some local tabloids and social media; including “The Street Journal” that the federal government through NCAA has given a directive that from December 1, 2021 travellers without proof of vaccination would not be permitted to board both local and international flights.

A statement signed by Sam Adurogboye, spokesperson for the Authority said that no ‘such directive emanated from the federal government through NCAA’. The Authority is called on the public to discountenance such news, as there is no iota of truth in it, advising purveyor of such ‘unfounded’ news to crosscheck facts before publishing.

Meanwhile, the Authority said it would continue to support all federal government initiatives to curb the spread of the Delta variant. “However, we expect strict adherence to safety protocols in and out of the airports by wearing our facemask, washing our hands periodically, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, maintaining social distance and avoiding crowded places.” it said.

It would be recalled that earlier in the month, when it was apparent that passengers in and out of Nigeria were being denied boarding due to difficulties encountered in the the course of getting evidence of payment for PCR test or generating QR code, the NCAA in a circular sent out to airlines,  permitted airlines operating into and out of Nigeria to board any passengers travelling to Nigeria (those who are unable to show evidence of payment for day-7 Covid-19 PCR test or generate paid QR code).

The permission was granted in a letter to all foreign airlines as signed by the director-general NCAA Musa Nuhu, a captain dated September 11, 2021. The letter states that the granting of the permit is hinged on the difficulties being experienced by travellers to Nigeria in trying to fill their  health and travel history into the Nigeria International Travel Portal (NITP).

According to the letter, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 has been made aware of the challenges. The NCAA DG had said “such passengers will be required to make payment for the repeated day-7 COVID-19 test at their destination airport in Nigeria”.

It also states that holders of diplomatic passports and children aged ten years and below who are unable to complete the NITP are to be allowed to board the flight, adding that, their health declaration and the Port Health Services at the destination airport will capture travel history.

According to him, airlines are to bring this information to the knowledge of their passengers and ensure strict compliance with the above stated conditions. Ministers and other government officials have been alerted by this development, and copied are the ministers of health and aviation, information and culture. Others who were in the know  are; the chairman Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 and the head, technical secretariat of the PSC.

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