There is an end in sight to the existing visa ban slammed on Nigerians by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has intervened in the matter.
This is the first time Tinubu would be speaking on the impasse which has prompted suspension of flights to Nigeria by the UAE flag carrier, Emirates.
The UAE authorities had in October 2022 slammed the visa van on Nigerians, coming shortly after the Emirates also suspended flights.
Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, which was also operating to Dubai similarly suspended its flight as the UAE stopped issuance of visa to prospective travelers.
Air Peace at the time said the suspension took effect from Tuesday, November 22, 2022, “till further notice.”
In a statement, the Airline said, “This is consequent upon the persisting non-issuance of visas to Nigerian travellers by the government of the United Arab Emirates and the accompanying inconveniences.
“Air Peace has been operating into UAE even with the country’s recent travel restrictions, but given the heightening hurdles Nigerian travellers are facing in accessing the country, it has become imperative that we halt our operations to that destination.”
Our correspondent learnt that the Emirates suspended its flight to Nigeria over its inability to repatriate trapped funds.
Receiving Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria at the State House on Thursday, the President directed that issues affecting relations with the Emirates Airline, and issuance of visas to Nigerians should be “immediately’’ resolved, emphasizing that he stands prepared to “personally’’ intervene.
“We are a family with the UAE, we only live in separate rooms, but we are in the same house. We should look at the issues as a family problem, and resolve it amicably. As you know in every family, there are peculiarities. You can have an erring son, or daughter, but we must work together. We need to agree on core aviation and immigration issues,” the President stated.
The Ambassador of UAE said he already sees himself as a “Nigerian’’ considering the historical antecedents of the country, its long-standing leadership role in Africa, and its reputation for hospitality to strangers.
“Since I arrived in the country, I have been working on 24 agreements. We are getting somewhere. These are small issues, all within a family, and they will be resolved. I am grateful to be here in Nigeria. I am also very grateful to meet His Excellency, President Tinubu, who is a great leader in Nigeria, and Africa. Please accept me as a Nigerian and consider me a member of your team,” he appealed.