By Daniel Edu
Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has arranged a technical stopover in Abu Dhabi, UAE, to engage in discussions aimed at resolving the ongoing diplomatic disputes between Nigeria and the UAE regarding visa issues and flight operations. This meeting will occur as President Tinubu departs from New Delhi, India, where he participated in the G-20 Summit and explored investment opportunities in Nigeria with Indian investors.
The diplomatic tensions between Nigeria and the UAE escalated in 2022 when the UAE imposed a visa ban on Nigerians. Additionally, Emirates, the national carrier of the UAE, suspended flight operations in Nigeria due to difficulties repatriating funds. In response, Nigerian carrier Air Peace also suspended flights to the UAE as the UAE had halted visa issuance to prospective travelers.
President Tinubu, in late August, assured the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, of his commitment to resolving the issues promptly and personally intervening. True to his promise, President Tinubu is now en route to Abu Dhabi to meet with UAE leadership and address these matters.
A statement by Presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngelale on September 10, 2023, confirmed the upcoming meeting and outlined its objectives. The meeting will build on previous discussions held during the UAE Ambassador’s visit to the State House in Abuja.
The statement noted, “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.”
After successful investment initiatives on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit and active participation in the summit itself, President Tinubu is expected to return to Abuja following the bilateral engagement in Abu Dhabi.