The Presidency has said Nigerian government officials and those of United Arab Emirates (UAE) are finalising agreements on visa ban lift.
President Bola Tinubu had met with Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his UAE counterpart, to resolve the diplomatic dispute between the two countries.
The UAE had suspended visa issuance to Nigerians in October of the previous year, leading to a suspension of flights to Nigeria by UAE airlines, including Etihad and Emirates. This move had a notable impact on Nigerians who regularly visited the UAE for business, tourism, and leisure.
The resolution of this issue came following President Tinubu’s directive to resolve it when Ambassador Designate of the UAE to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, presented his Letter of Credence in Nigeria. President Tinubu had also visited Abu Dhabi from India, where he attended the G-20 Summit, to continue negotiations.
Presidential spokesman Chief Ajuri Ngelale announced on Monday that the meeting with UAE authorities had been fruitful, resulting in the immediate lifting of the visa ban. Additionally, both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines were set to immediately resume their flights between the two countries.
Ngelale clarified that this agreement did not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government, highlighting the successful negotiations between the two Heads of State.
Surprisingly, the UAE authorities did not mention the lifting of the visa ban in their statement on the meeting. Emirates News Agency reported that President Nahyan congratulated President Tinubu on his presidency and expressed well wishes for Nigeria’s progress and prosperity.
Nigerians had varying reactions to the UAE’s silence on the visa ban lift. However, Chief Ajuri Ngelale emphasized the need to allow cabinet officials from both sides to work out the finer details and finalize cross-sectoral agreements based on the agreement between the two leaders. The process is expected to unfold organically, free from speculation.