President Bola Tinubu has stated he is prepared to personally intervene in issues affecting the country’s relationship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
He also directed officials to immediately attend to the said issues relating to visa issuance and the Emirates Airline.
This was disclosed in a press statement from the Special Adviser to the President on Publicity in the aftermath of the President’s meeting with the envoy of the UAE.
He stated the relationship between the two countries is likened to siblings of the same family who regularly have issues and have to resolve them immediately.
He specifically mentioned the need to agree on aviation and immigration issues affecting the country.
- In his words, “We are a family in 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”
Responding to the President, the Ambassador of the UAE, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi stated he sees himself as a Nigerian and is grateful to the President for the welcome.
- He stated, “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,”
Recall that since 2020, both countries have been involved in a diplomatic role even after signing an MoU to engage each other bilaterally.
In February 2021, the UAE national carrier, Emirates Airlines, was prohibited by the federal government from requiring Nigerian travellers to undergo an extra rapid antigen test.
In June 2021 the UAE reportedly suspended flights to and fro Nigeria and the UAE until further notice even after lifting the ban on travel just two days prior.
In October of 2022, the UAE authorities placed a visa ban on Nigerians intending to visit the oil-rich nation, specifying that all submitted applications will be declined and fees will not be reimbursed.