The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reportedly lifted the ban on flights from Nigeria.
According to multiple media platforms in the Middle East country, the reversal of the ban took effect on Saturday, March 5, 2022.
Saudi Gazette reports that the country’s ministry of interior announced the resumption of direct flights to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, United Republic of Comoros, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Afghanistan.
Bashir Ahmad, personal assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on new media, also confirmed the lifting of the flight restriction.
“Saudi Arabia has lifted the suspension of direct flights from Nigeria and other 18 countries,” he wrote on Twitter.
In the wake of the outbreak of the Omicron COVID variant, Saudi Arabia had, in December 2021, suspended all flights from Nigeria.
“Suspending all incoming flights and suspending entry to the Kingdom for non-nationals coming directly or indirectly from the Federal Republic of Nigeria, except for those who have spent a period of no less than (14) fourteen days in another country from which they are allowed to come,” the circular announcing the ban had read.
The federal government had in January 2022 asked Saudi Arabia to lift the ban.
Zubairu Dada, minister of state for foreign affairs, made the request when he met with Faisal bin Ibrahim Al-Ghamdi, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Nigeria.
“Nigeria has understood fully the reason for the ban by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was for the best interest of its citizens,” the minister had said.
“But the steps taken so far by Nigerian authorities to curtail the spread of the Omicron variant have made it possible for many countries to consider Nigeria as safe, removing Nigeria from the blacklisted countries.”