President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to end the blanket ban on visas for Nigerians.
He also asked for Emirates Airline to start flying in the country again after it stopped.
The President made the call on Monday during a phone conversation with Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Emir of Abu Dhabi.
He had called Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan to express his condolences on the death of his mother-in-law, Sheikha Maryam Al Falasi, during which important issues of mutual concern between the two countries were discussed.
President Buhari asked for a review of the ban and told the sheikh that relations between the two countries had been good and mutually beneficial for many years. This was shown by strong economic ties and regular consultations on issues of common interest, including meetings at the highest political levels, he said.
He said recent snags in bilateral relations caused by consular problems with how some Nigerians behaved in the UAE were being worked out.
“No country, including Nigeria, will stand for crimes and illegal actions,” the President told the UAE leader.
He said the government of Nigeria was ready to take action against anyone who was found to have done illegal things in the UAE, and asked that the issue be left to the security and intelligence agencies of the two countries, so that they could come up with long-term solutions to the problems.
Emirates Airline stopped doing business in Nigeria in 2022 because it couldn’t get back money that was stuck there.
President Buhari told the Sheikh that the issue of the Emirates funds and those of other foreign airlines operating in Nigeria were being dealt with properly. He also told the Central Bank of Nigeria to give the airline more foreign currency.
Writing by Abdullah Bello; Editing by Saadatu Albashir and Tony Okerafor