BREAKING: Tinubu to meet UAE leaders over visa, diplomatic row today
President Bola Tinubu will meet with the leadership of the United Arab Emirates by 5 pm UAE time, in a bid to resolve the Emirates Airline flight suspension to Nigeria, visa ban and other diplomatic issues today, The PUNCH reliably gathered.
The Minister for Aviation and Aerospace management, Festus Keyamo, had on Sunday night travelled to the Middle-East country to meet with the President, who had a stopover after exiting the G20 summit in India.
Speaking with our correspondent, the Aviation and Aerospace Management Minister, Festus Keyamo, SAN confirmed that he travelled on Sunday night and that officials of the two countries will meet by 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.