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Tinubu Seeks End To Nigeria-UAE Diplomatic Row Over Visa Issuance, Emirates Airline

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday directed that the issues affecting relations with the Emirates Airline and issuance of visas by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Nigerians should be ‘immediately’ resolved.

Receiving the Letter of Credence of Ambassador of UAE, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, at the presidential villa in Abuja, he stressed his readiness to “personally’’ intervene in the dispute.

Nigeria and the UAE have a long history of restriction of flights between both countries based on certain unresolved issues surrounding the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA).

Visa restrictions later surfaced as diplomatic fireworks continue between Nigeria and the UAE, which is a top destination for Nigerian migrants and tourists.

Emirates Airline had suspended flight operations to Nigeria in October 2022 over the country’s inability to repatriate trapped funds. The government of UAE also banned nationals of 20 African countries including Nigeria from entering Dubai, its capital.

Speaking on the issue on Thursday, the President in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, emphasised that he stands prepared to “personally’’ intervene in the diplomatic row between Nigeria and the UAE.

“We are a family with 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”, he said.

The Ambassador of UAE said he already sees himself as a “Nigerian’’ considering the historical antecedents of the country, its long-standing leadership role in Africa, and its reputation for hospitality to strangers.

“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. 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”, he enjoined.

President Tinubu also receives Letters of Credence from the Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Awall Wagris Mohammed and Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba, Mrs. Miriam Morales Palmero.

He said at the ceremony that African countries have a better chance of overcoming economic and security challenges by looking inward for solutions and walking the talk on all of its pledges and agreements.

In a side meeting with the Ambassador of Ethiopia, the President assured the envoy that Nigeria will continue to strengthen its ties with African countries in the areas of trade, security, and economic growth.

“Africans need to work for the progress of Africa. We should be able to resolve our internal problems, collectively. It requires a great commitment, but we must do that. No one can understand our people better than we do. Home-grown solutions are better for all of us, and the remedies will last longer”, he implored.

Mohammed congratulated the President for the historic decisions he has taken in the country, and the impact of the policies on the continent, assuring of his dedication to improve relations between Nigeria and Ethiopia.

In another meeting with the Ambassador of Cuba, President Tinubu commended the nation for excelling in the advancement of indigenous medical sciences and accessible health care at the grassroots, all while ensuring the stability of their surrounding region.

The President noted that Nigeria and Cuba share some cultural similarities that can be explored to improve the lives of citizens, especially in tourism and other economic sectors.

“We should collaborate more in science and technology, an area that will improve the lives of our people, particularly the youthful population Nigeria is so blessed with”, President Tinubu told the envoy.



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