The economic diplomacy of the Tinubu administration on Monday yielded another dividend as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) lifted its visa ban imposed on Nigerian travellers.
The landmark breakthrough was achieved after the president met with Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE president, in Abu Dhabi, on Monday.
Ajuri Ngelale, the presidential spokesperson, said in a statement that Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines are to “immediately resume flight schedules into and out of Nigeria without any further delay”.
“As negotiated between the two heads of state, this immediate restoration of flight activity, through these two airlines and between the two countries, does not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government,” the statement reads.
“In recognition of President Tinubu’s economic development diplomacy drive and proposals today presented by President Tinubu to his counterpart, an agreed framework has been established, which will involve several billions of U.S. dollars worth of new investments into the Nigerian economy across multiple sectors, including defense, agriculture and others, by the investment arms of the Government of the United Arab Emirates.”
Since 2021, UAE and Nigeria have been engaging in a diplomatic row over issues involving flight allocations and travel bans.
In December 2021, the UAE banned airlines from airlifting Nigerian passengers into the Emirates.
The UAE had claimed that the ban was due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Before the travel ban, UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) had approved a slot of three weekly flights from Nigeria to Sharjah Airport. The single flight was approved for Air Peace.
In retaliation to the UAE’s treatment of Air Peace, the federal government dropped the Emirates’ slots from 21 to one.
The move made the Dubai-based airline suspend all its flights to Nigeria.
In October 2022, the UAE imposed a visa ban on Nigerians after a