Visa Ban: Tinubu heads for UAE to resolve diplomatic disputes

After the conclusion of the G20 Summits in New Delhi, India, President Tinubu is traveling to Abu Dhabi to meet with the president of UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to discuss a possible resolution of the diplomatic rift between the two countries, according to Daily Trust report.

Tinubu, accompanied by other senior officials, is aiming to resolve the diplomatic row between Nigeria and UAE over visa ban and flight suspension.

In October 2022, UAE authorities imposed a visa ban on Nigerians, following the suspension of Emirates flights.

However, Ajuri Ngelale, the presidential spokesperson, announced on Sunday that Tinubu would meet with the President of UAE to discuss the issue.

According to Ngelale, the meeting will serve as a follow-up discussion between the two countries to address specific issues on the ban.

He said,

  • “President Bola Tinubu will meet with the leadership of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during a technical stopover in Abu Dhabi, UAE, after the President departs from New Delhi, India.”
  • “The meeting will serve as a follow-up discussion to address specific, salient issues within the bilateral relationship after conversations held during a recent visit by the UAE Ambassador to the President at the State House in Abuja.
  • “The President is maximizing the opportunity of the stopover to equally advance his investment promotion objectives with high-level authorities in the public and private sectors of the United Arab Emirates.
  • “Following a successful investment drive on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit, active participation in the G-20 Summit, and a productive stopover in the UAE, the President is expected to return to Abuja immediately following the bilateral engagement.”

Earlier Discussions

Last month, during his meeting with Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria at Aso Rock, the President gave clear instructions to swiftly resolve matters concerning relations with Emirates Airlines and the issuance of visas to Nigerians. He underscored his readiness to “personally” intervene.

He emphasized that both countries have a long-standing bilateral relationship that should be sustained moving forward.

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.”

What You Should Know

Last October, The United Arab Emirates government announced a visa ban on Nigerians, adding that all submitted applications are rejected and fees non-refundable.

The ban was announced in a notice issued by UAE immigration authorities to its trade partners in Nigeria including travel agencies.

The Dubai authorities announced that all applications were halted until problems between the governments of the UAE and Nigeria were handled.

In addition, Emirates suspended its flight to Nigeria over its inability to repatriate trapped funds.

Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, which was also operating in Dubai similarly suspended its flight as the UAE stopped the issuance of visas to prospective travellers.

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