Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, has called for cooperation and partnership with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to develop Abuja’s tourism potential.
The FCT Minister made the call when he received the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, l Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja on Monday.
The Minister noted that the UAE has become a tourist centre of the world and expressed the desire of the FCT also to improve its tourism potential in partnership with the UAE.
Responding to the revelation by the ambassador that President Bola Tinubu will be visiting the UAE soon, the Minister informed the Ambassador that the FCT Administration will be part of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s delegation to the UAE to seek foreign investments, adding that the FCT also intends to complement the efforts of the President in the area of tourism.
“I know the President; for him, governance is business. For him, whatever is going to make Nigeria great is what he stands for, so we are here as his foot soldiers to complement his efforts to see that the Renewed Hope agenda is fulfilled,” he said.
Wike also spoke on the lingering issue of travel bans and flight restrictions imposed on Nigerians by the United Arab Emirates.
The Minister said Nigerians love the UAE, especially Dubai, and called for a quick resolution of the Visa allocation process, which he noted was becoming too cumbersome and hindering smooth relations.
“We also hope that the visa ban and flight restriction of the United Emirates will be resolved as soon as possible. Nigerians love UAE, Dubai especially. We believe that we will not have hindrances regarding visa procurement”, he said.
In his response, the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Al-Shamsi, stated that Nigeria and UAE have much in common but explained that the travel restrictions were introduced to close existing gaps.
Disclosing that the door to the UAE was not entirely closed to Nigerians, the Envoy said, “Regarding the VISA issue, I would say that the door is not closed, but it’s not widely open We issue a lot of visa daily. A lot of people from Nigeria go to the UAE and come back with very easy access to get the visa”