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UAE Lifts Visa Ban on Nigerians: Etihad and Emirates Airlines to Resume Flights

In a significant diplomatic breakthrough, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has officially lifted the months-long visa ban on Nigerian travelers, marking a historic agreement between the two nations. The announcement was made following a meeting between Nigerian President Bola Tinubu and UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday.

President Tinubu expressed his willingness to resolve the visa ban issue during a recent meeting with UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, emphasizing the strong familial ties between the nations. He likened the situation to a family dispute that needed amicable resolution.

This development comes almost three weeks after President Tinubu’s commitment to personally intervene in ending the year-long ban on Nigerian travelers to the UAE. The ban, imposed in October 2022, affected nationals from several African countries, including Nigeria.

Emirates, the UAE’s national carrier, suspended flights to Nigeria due to the ban. The decision had sparked a diplomatic row between the two nations, involving issues related to flight allocations and travel restrictions.

In a statement, President Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, clarified that the immediate restoration of flight operations by Emirates and Etihad Airlines between the two countries does not require an immediate payment by the Nigerian government. Instead, both countries have agreed on a framework that will result in several billion dollars’ worth of new investments in Nigeria’s economy, spanning various sectors, including defense and agriculture.

Furthermore, a new joint foreign exchange liquidity program negotiated by President Tinubu and President Al Nahyan will be unveiled in the coming weeks, contributing to the strengthening of bilateral relations.

President Tinubu expressed his gratitude to President Al Nahyan for their unwavering friendship and collaborative efforts to normalize and elevate the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE. Following this historic agreement, President Tinubu is expected to return to Abuja promptly, marking a significant step forward in diplomatic relations between the two important nations.


Ademola Adeyemi

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