President Bola Tinubu is scheduled to hold a meeting with the leadership of the United Arab Emirates at 5 pm UAE time today, aiming to address the suspension of Emirates Airline flights to Nigeria, visa bans, and other diplomatic concerns.
The Minister for Aviation and Aerospace Management, Festus Keyamo, made a journey to the Middle-Eastern nation on Sunday night for discussions with the President, who had a stopover following his exit from the G20 summit in India.
Speaking to journalists, Minister Festus Keyamo, SAN, confirmed his Sunday night travel and announced that officials from both countries are set to convene at 5 pm today.
“I am in Abu Dhabi to join Mr President to sort out the twin issues of Dubai visas and Emirates flights to Nigeria. Both leaders are meeting by 5 pm Today,” the minister said in a chat with our correspondent.
The PUNCH reports that the UAE imposed a visa ban on Nigerians in October 2022, shortly after Emirates Airlines suspended flights to Nigeria. The move was reportedly in response to Nigeria’s failure to repatriate billions of dollars in 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.
When he hosted Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, UAE Ambassador to Nigeria at Aso Rock last month, the President had directed that issues affecting relations with the Emirates Airline, and issuance of visas to Nigerians should be “immediately’’ resolved, emphasizing that he stands prepared to “personally’’ intervene.
“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,” the President had said.
On Sunday, the Presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, announced that Tinubu would meet UAE authorities over the issue.
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