The visa ban imposed on Nigerians by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may soon come to an end, thanks to the intervention of President Bola Tinubu.
During a meeting with Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, at the State House on Thursday, the President instructed that matters concerning Emirates Airline’s relations and the issuance of visas to Nigerians should be promptly addressed. He underscored his willingness to personally intervene to ensure resolution.
This marks the first occasion on which Tinubu has addressed the deadlock that led to the suspension of flights to Nigeria by Emirates, the UAE’s national carrier.
“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 UAE Ambassador expressed a deep connection to Nigeria, seeing himself as a “Nigerian” due to the nation’s historical significance, its enduring leadership role in Africa, and its well-known tradition of welcoming strangers with hospitality.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
In October 2022, the UAE authorities imposed a visa ban on Nigerians, coinciding with the suspension of flights by Emirates. Nigerian airline, Air Peace, also ceased its Dubai flights in response to the UAE’s visa issuance halt for potential travellers.
Air Peace announced that this suspension would be in effect starting Tuesday, November 22, 2022, until 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 the 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.”