UAE and Nigeria Rekindle Diplomatic Relations: Visa Ban Lifted and Investments Incoming
In a historic move, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has cleared the path for Nigerian travelers by lifting the visa ban that had been in place for almost a year. This positive development is largely credited to the diplomatic interventions of Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu.
Ajuri Ngelale, the voice of the Presidential Office, revealed that this agreement has facilitated the resumption of flight operations for major airlines, including Emirates and Etihad, strengthening the air-connectivity between the two countries.
The amicable discussions, which unfolded in Abu Dhabi between President Tinubu and the UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, not only solidified travel connections but also promised a surge of UAE investments in various sectors of Nigeria. While the specifics of these multi-billion dollar investments remain under wraps, they are slated to be revealed in the coming weeks.
Ngelale expressed, “Beyond revoking the visa restrictions that had troubled Nigerian travelers, this agreement fortifies the position of airlines such as Etihad and Emirates, permitting them to seamlessly resume their flight services.”
Previously, the visa limitations, attributed to COVID-19 concerns and a financial tiff regarding over $8 million in trapped ticket sale funds, had created ripples in the bilateral relations of the two nations. In a reactive stance, Nigeria had dialed down the flight frequencies of Emirates Airlines, prompting them to halt their services in the country.
Speaking of the investment prospects, Ngelale confirmed the mutual agreement on a comprehensive framework expected to inject billions into Nigeria’s economy. Additionally, an innovative foreign exchange program, crafted collaboratively, will soon see the light of day.
Acknowledging the breakthrough, President Tinubu extended his appreciation to Al Nahyan for his instrumental role in mending and enhancing the relationship between their nations.
Aviation industry insiders, like Olumide Ohunayo of Zenith Travels and spokesperson for the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), lauded the diplomatic feat. He foresees this rejuvenated partnership potentially offering travelers more choices, competitive airfares, and expanded services.
As the aviation world buzzes with optimism, keen observers are gearing up to witness the rollout and the cascading effects of these renewed ties.