President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to end its blanket visa ban on Nigerians.
The President discussed this position with the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who also serves as the Emir of Abu Dhabi, on Tuesday.
According to Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Buhari requested that his UAE counterpart reconsider the blanket visa ban imposed on Nigerians planning to travel to the UAE.
The President recalled that the two countries have had mutually beneficial excellent relations for many years, as evidenced by robust economic interactions and regular consultations on matters of mutual interest, including engagements at the highest political levels.
He stated that recent irritants in bilateral relations caused by consular issues relating to the behavior of some Nigerians in the UAE are being ironed out, emphasizing that no country, including Nigeria, will condone criminality and illegal behavior.
As a result, Buhari stated that the Nigerian government is prepared to impose necessary sanctions through appropriate judicial processes on anyone identified as having committed criminal acts in the UAE.
He requested that the issue be handled by the two countries’ relevant security/intelligence agencies in order to find long-term solutions to the problems associated with criminality and illegality.
According to the statement, Buhari has also requested that Emirates Airline resume its operations in the country.
BizWatch Nigeria recalls that Emirates Airline suspended its operations in Nigeria in 2022 due to its inability to repatriate funds trapped in the country.
President Buhari assured the UAE leader that the Emirates funds were being handled appropriately, alongside those of other foreign airlines operating in Nigeria, and that the Central Bank of Nigeria had been directed to increase the airline’s foreign exchange allocation.