President Muhammadu Buhari has made a special plea for the United Arab Emirates government to lift the broad visa ban it has imposed on Nigerians (UAE).
On Monday, the president discussed this stance over the phone with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates and concurrent Emir of Abu Dhabi.
According to a statement made on Tuesday by the president’s press secretary, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari called Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to express his condolences for the passing of his mother-in-law, Sheikha Maryam Al Falasi. During their conversation, significant issues of concern to both nations were discussed.
I telephoned the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to offer condolences on the death of his mother-in-law, Sheikha Maryam Al Falasi. May her soul rest in perfect peace.— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) February 14, 2023
I also urged him to lift the blanket visa ban by the UAE on Nigerians.
The president asked the UAE’s ambassador to review the blanket ban on Nigerians receiving visas to travel to the UAE.
He recalled the long history of excellent relations between the two countries, marked by strong economic ties and frequent discussions on issues of mutual concern, including interactions at the highest political levels.
No country, including Nigeria, will tolerate criminality and illegal behavior, the president said, adding that recent irritants in bilateral relations brought on by consular issues relating to the behavior of some Nigerians in the UAE are being resolved.
Therefore, he declared that the Nigerian government was prepared to impose the necessary penalties through the proper legal channels against anyone found guilty of committing crimes in the United Arab Emirates. He also urged that the matter be left in the hands of the two countries’ respective security and intelligence services in order to find long-term solutions to the issues posed by crime and illegal activity.
Buhari also asked that Emirates Airline’s countrywide operations, which had been halted, resume.
Due to its inability to repatriate funds trapped in Nigeria, Emirates Airline had to halt operations there in 2022.
The president reassured the leader of the UAE that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had been instructed to increase foreign exchange allocation to the airline and that the issue with the Emirates funds was being given the proper attention along with that of other foreign airlines operating in Nigeria.