While the UAE has been silent on their end, according to Tinubu’s tweet, there was more to his trip to Abu Dhabi. He met with their president to discuss ways to strengthen diplomatic relations and seek new investment opportunities.
We have all the tea.
Nigerians can fly to Dubai once more
Tinubu announced in a Twitter post that he met with President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday, September 11. The strategic discussions included the immediate removal of the Dubai visa ban placed on Nigerian travellers.
Recall that the ban took effect in October 2022, following a months-long diplomatic row between Nigeria and the UAE over flight allocations and a prior COVID travel ban. In 2021, Air Peace had requested a slot of three weekly flights from Nigeria to Sharjah Airport in UAE, but only one was granted. In retaliation, the federal government cut Emirate’s slots from 21 to one, causing the airline to pull out of the Nigerian route indefinitely.
Etihad and Emirates Airlines resume work in Nigeria
According to President Tinubu, the new deal will also see to the “Immediate resumption of flight schedules into and out of Nigeria by Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines, without any immediate payment required from the Nigerian government.”
Billions of dollars worth of investment
“An agreed framework for new investments worth several billions of U.S dollars into the Nigerian economy by the UAE government, covering multiple sectors including defense and agriculture,” President Tinubu shared in a Twitter post.
Foreign exchange programmes
Although the exact details have not been announced, President Tinubu is pushing a new foreign exchange liquidity programme between Nigeria and the UAE.
Improved foreign relations
Jagaban assured Nigerians that he’s making moves to “normalise and enhance” the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE, hence the collaboration with President Al Nahyan.
The UAE’s position
The UAE embassy’s official statement doesn’t mention a visa ban removal or flight resumption by Etihad and Emirates Airlines as announced by President Tinubu and the federal government.
While the statement confirmed that the two leaders met, it only highlighted discussions around diplomatic relations and investment opportunities.
“The UAE President and Nigerian President explored opportunities for further bilateral collaboration in areas that serve both countries’ sustainable economic growth, including the economic development, energy and climate action fields. The two sides also exchanged views on several regional and international developments of interest.”
Nigerians react to news
Some Nigerians have since taken to social media to celebrate the news while others have expressed strong reservations, noting that they’d only believe when the UAE issues an official statement.
It won’t be business as usual
While the announcement has sparked mixed reactions among Nigerians, President Tinubu’s media aide, Ajuri Ngelale, has stressed that things will take a different turn in a bid to cushion developments that led to the ban in the first place.
During an appearance on Channels TV’s Politics Today, Ngelale said, “Every agreement comes with mutual responsibility. There is no free lunch. What I mean by that is the notion that floodgates will open up and we go back to business as usual. That is not what Nigerians should expect. I want to be very clear about this so that everybody can understand.”