President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari seeks end to UAE visa ban on Nigerians, Emirates Airline’s return, assures forex allocation to airline


President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, called for lifting of the blanket visa ban slammed on all Nigerians by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in addition to the resumption of the suspended flight operations of the Gulf nation’s carrier, the Emirates Airline in the country.

President Buhari advanced these demands during a telephone conversation with the President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who also doubles as the Emir of Abu Dhabi.

Buhari had called Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to condole with him on the death of his mother-in-law, Sheikha Maryam Al Falasi, during which important issues of mutual concern between the two countries came up.

The Nigeria leader who requested his UAE counterpart to review the blanket visa ban imposed on Nigerians intending to travel to the UAE, recalled that mutually beneficial excellent relations have subsisted between the two nations over many years, symbolized by robust economic interactions and regular consultations on matters of common interest, including engagements at the highest political levels.

President Muhammadu Buhari

He noted that recent irritants in bilateral relations generated by consular issues relating to the behaviour of some Nigerians in the UAE are being ironed out, explaining that no country including Nigeria will condone criminalities and illegal behaviours.

 Buhari further expressed the readiness of the Federal Government to apply necessary sanctions through appropriate judicial process against anyone identified to have committed criminal acts in the UAE.

He asked that the issue be allowed to be handled by the relevant security/intelligence agencies of the two countries and to come up with lasting solutions to the problems associated with criminalities and illegalities.

It would be recalled that the UAE carrier, the Emirates Airline had suspended its operations in Nigeria in 2022 in the wake of federal Government’s inability to repatriate funds trapped in the country.

President Buhari assured the UAE leader that the issue of the Emirates funds was receiving appropriate attention alongside those of other foreign airlines operating in Nigeria.

According to Buhari, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had been directed to increase foreign exchange (forex) allocation to the airline.

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