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Emirates rejects naira in payment for flight


Emirates Airlines

Emirates Airlines

• It is illegal, says NCAA
• Stranded passengers allege discrimination

Emirates Airlines has rejected the Nigerian currency, naira, for payment by travellers to Brazil.The Dubai-based airline is rather demanding a credit card mode of payment from passengers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

The development, which caught many passengers unawares, caused some of them to be left behind, despite having bought tickets weeks earlier.The Guardian observed that while some passengers were turned back by the airline’s officials at the counter for already buying tickets in naira, they also ensured that a passenger who had earlier checked in for the 5:55 p.m. Lagos-Dubai Sunday flight never boarded the plane.

The Emirates office in Lagos yesterday confirmed that the credit card mode of payment is indeed the company’s policy, though it would not explain the rationale.An official of the airline, Babatunde Yahaya, who explained the new policy to angry passengers on Sunday said the action was in line with a memo issued to them, demanding that any ticket issued on Emirates, for passengers travelling from Nigeria to Brazil, “must be by credit card and not cash.” Yahaya said the directive was issued on September 22 and took effect immediately.

Reading from a sheet of paper to the evicted passengers, he said: “Any ticket issued on Emirates Airline from Nigeria to Brazil must be paid for with credit card and not cash.“The credit card holder must be verified, preferably not his passport. And even when issued by a third party, the credit card holder must be verified and his credit card ascertained.”

One of the affected passengers, Obinna, said it was “humiliation of the highest order,” and so shameful that such is happening on Nigerian soil.“This is a ticket bought almost two weeks ago from Emirates and they collected cash. Besides the fact that it is illegal to reject it for whatever reason, why did they collect the naira when they wanted a credit card? This is so disgraceful and I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” Obinna said.

Another Brazil-bound passenger said it amounted to cheating the Nigerian system to insist that a ticket must be paid for with a credit card because the fares would be deducted in dollar equivalent and at the official exchange rate.“This is sheer discrimination against Nigerians that ordinarily would have been taken up in a sane clime. The ticket was purchased even before the date the so-called memo was issued. So, why did they collect the fares when they knew they would not honour them?” the passenger said on the condition of anonymity.

The airline, however, denied discrimination against anyone, citing a “company policy” that was not adhered to by travel agencies. The Emirates’ office in Lagos said the passengers affected bought their tickets some days before the scheduled travel, and had done so through travel agencies.

Early this year, some foreign airlines were allegedly demanding that tickets be purchased with foreign currencies or from overseas, in the wake of dollar scarcity and foreign airlines’ funds getting stuck in Nigeria. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) then warned all airlines to desist from the act which it described as a flagrant contravention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s “prerequisite guiding cost of products or services in Nigeria.”

The apex bank insisted that “pricing of any product shall continue to be in naira only and it is illegal to price or denominate the cost of any product or service (visible or invisible) in any foreign currency.”Reacting to the latest development, Spokesman for NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said the action was contrary to the provisions of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and other countries as contained in Article 8 (4).

According to Adurogboye, the agreement provides for ticket payment either in local currency or official currency of the airline’s host country, but as preferred by the passenger.He said: “You (airlines) are duty bound to accept any mode of payment that the traveller chooses. And you don’t turn them down. If you do, then that is where we come in.”

He added that the regulatory authority was not unaware of complaints against foreign airlines operating in the country and had been appealing to them instead of going punitive.

According to Adurogboye, many of the airlines still have their funds stuck in Nigeria amidst dollar scarcity, noting that it would be most unfair to wield the big stick when they violate rules.He assured that NCAA would investigate the development with Emirates and act accordingly.

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  • Chidun

    This is total nonesense . Ye regulatory authority is still saying the aren’t aware of the complain. Must you wait for a complain before investigating this news? I think being proactive and informed is vital in any agency. Airlines should accept Naira or leave the country.

    • scabanga

      When they leave you will walk to London or dubai…you cannot blame the foreign airlines when the FGN do not have a clear cut policy for how the airlines can repatriate their profits…the Naira as it stands is a joke that has spiralled out of control…rather point your attention to the FGN to bring some semblance of stability into the system.

      • Chidun

        I think if you read my opinion so well you will understand am not happy with the agency which is government owned. I also asked for investigation on that allegation or fact. I also pointed it out that it is wrong for airlines to reject a of country of business currency. Will emirate reject dollar from an American in US? I don’t think so. Even though it might not be there best option. So I expect both parties to discuss this and avoid such a national embarrassment.

        • ecd201

          Your country, your economy, your leaders, your infrastructures are all a bunch of national embarrassment put together and I wish many more airlines and nations will treat you in the same way maybe just maybe someone will wake up and begin to do the right thing.

      • 100%Iboguy

        Anyone who wants to walk to London or Dubai is free to do so.. No foreign airline will outlaw our currency in our country because of the economic situation. Before the oil boom burst and the avengers they were happy to do business here, if now they think the economy is not in their favour they have the option of walking out like others that have done so.

        • Lady hilson

          That is life for you. You want your country to be respected and be one of the countries sort after by other countries? Then nija has to live up to that expectation, past glory won’t do it for us besides, these people are business agencies and individuals. You do what’s best for you and your business when you start running at a loss. Really, what is our currency worth? Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

          • 100%Iboguy

            With all due respect you may not appreciate what sovereignty and regulatory framework connote. Even in the most developed free economy there are strict regulatory frameworks and Nigeria will not be an exception because of the economic recession. Like you rightly said they are free to do what is best for their business but within the Nigerian law.

        • ecd201

          You need to have your head examined very well. People can walk to London? I don’t blame you. If you are the owner of that airline would you continue to operate in Nigeria where you cannot get your money back for operating costs?
          Get real my friend!

          • 100%Iboguy

            I am not going to respond that you must get your head examined because any defect in the working of your head will be easily shown when you are able to point out where I suggested that any airline must continue to work against the wishes of the owner.

      • AmaraMr ikwuegbu

        you are right the news says airline funds were stuck in nigeria do to scarcity of dollar , even this airlines are so good to keep coming to nigeria

    • Lady hilson

      Don’t worry as you can see they are leaving one after the other. Am sure you have wings to fly, when they leave you will fly from Nigeria to whatever country you want to go or better still trek.

      • Chidun

        If the aren’t making profit will they stay? I guess no so I don’t expect my country men to be treated like pigs in their nation.

      • Hakeem Smith

        Your comment would appear racist and / or sympathetic of the racist acts of the Airline. There are lots of Airlines queuing up to do business in lucrative Markets such as Nigeria. Airlines with Nazist management, policies and decisions regarding Nigeria and Nigerians in Nigeria and else where should be expelled with immediate effect.

  • KayEbie

    Honestly, any airline that violates the rules of the country should be sanctioned with immediate effect and if found wanting, the necessary punitive measure should be taken so as to whip them into shape.


    I wonder what the future holds for this country…..

    Need a Schengen Visa? Contact us and you will be glad you did! >>>>>>>


    It’s only in Nigeria that things like this happen. Emirates Airline should not be allowed to go scot-free. It’s rather unfortunate that Nigeria does not have her own Airline, It’s a shame.

    • Apostel

      Here you show clearly that you do not even understand the idiocy itself, you write.

  • vic

    erring airlines should be black listed and packed out of nigeria.

    • Apostel

      and you should be blacklisted to all doctors and psychologists

  • Bfresh

    Are we in a country or in a hole? what a shame.

  • Nomnso

    The zoo is entering depression from recession.

  • real

    only in Nigeria would this airlines get away with this kind of rubbish. They are effectively changing Nigeria currency and this would completely destroy our economy. The regulators need to come down very hard on this airlines. This airlines want to make money off Nigerian’s, yet they continue to treat Nigerian’s like this. The airlines should be immediately fined massively and banned from doing business in Nigeria until they change that policy.

  • AmaraMr ikwuegbu

    nigeria as an entity deserved the treatment , it is because we dont have president who care to know

    • Hakeem Smith

      Your comment is treasonable! !! !!!

      While I respect freedom of speech however a person’s right to freedom of speech is neither absolute nor allowed to infringe on the human dignity, human rights and equality rights of Nigerians and Nigeria as a Country whose geographic territory would appear to have been determined by external factors as an aftermath of the Berlin Conference in 1884 – 1885 – The Airline’s sordid, racist and nazist act is disgraceful just as the comment of anyone who supports or is sympathetic with the Airline concerned.

  • anthonytommy

    The true story no countries really interested or to accept the nigeria travellers anymore. They already knows those Nigeria travellers are trying to escape for recession as well. As Nigeria economy recession and naria is not useful anymore internationally, and the matter of facts it would continue depreciation until it reaches $1 to 700 naira

    • Hakeem Smith

      Your comment would appear as that of someone who is nauseatingly ignorant and devoid of any humane principle and practice of treating people with respect and dignity regardless of their race, colour, religion, civil status, family status or ethnic origin. Please confirm whether you are someone of the African, Caucasian, Arab or Asian etc. Race? You may also confirm whether you colour code humans whenever you describe a person?

      • anthonytommy

        I am a mixed blood Arab as you know for real, the true most told without any fear. The Nigeria travellers are in Desperated to leaves their country due to this unbelievable economy recession. When Mr. Hakeem Smith’s eyes opening he would surly realize that I lived and I believe for democracy value freedom of speech, assembly and the law of land. And we strongly against corruption,bribery and extact judicial killing of our citizens.

  • Hakeem Smith

    The Airline’s operating license in Nigeria should be revoked while the
    Airline should be expelled from Nigeria. Such aberrant, irresponsible,
    nazist, disrespectful, dismissive, disdainful, abusive and disgraceful
    treatment of Nigerians by this Airline and any other Airline concerned
    should neither be tolerated nor accepted. All passengers affected
    including those who switched to the so called credit card mode should be
    adequately compensated.


    They should fly Nigeria Airways> after all Emirates just started operations in 1984. Years after Nigerian Airways started. You want to finished them the way you finished your owns?

  • Babagordy

    It is only an airline that is set to go out of business that will collect Naira, what business wants to collect Naira that one is not sure of its worth.

  • ifeanyi

    Those who purchased tickets before the policy was made shouldn’t have been stopped from traveling. For disobeying the monetary policy of the country, the airline should be barred from Nigeria.

  • Bako