Our reporter| President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday asked the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to lift the visa ban imposed on Nigerians.
The UAE in October 22, imposed a visa ban on Nigerians following a diplomatic row.
“The rejections are general for Nigerians and approvals are on hold at the moment,” the Dubai authorities said at the time.
Both countries have disagreed on a number of occasions about the number of flights Nigeria’s Air Peace would be allowed to undertake to Sharjah Airport in UAE.
While Air Peace requested three slots, only one was granted.
Also, Emirates Airlines, one of UAE’s flag carriers, has had problems repatriating its funds from Nigeria.
However, speaking in a telephone conversation with UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who doubles as the emir of Dubai, on Tuesday, Buhari said the visa ban should be reviewed because both countries benefit from the relations.
Buhari had called the UAE president to condole with him on the death of Maryam Al Falasi, his mother-in-law.
“The president requested his UAE counterpart to review the blanket visa ban imposed on Nigerians intending to travel to the UAE, recalling that mutually beneficial excellent relations have subsisted between the two nations over many years, symbolized by robust economic interactions and regular consultations on matters of common interest, including engagements at the highest political levels,” Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, said in a statement.
“He noted that recent irritants in bilateral relations generated by consular issues relating to the behaviour of some Nigerians in the UAE are being ironed out, explaining that no country including Nigeria will condone criminalities and illegal behaviours.
“President Buhari, therefore, expressed the readiness of the Government of Nigeria to apply necessary sanctions through appropriate judicial process against anyone identified to have committed criminal acts in the UAE, urging that the issue be allowed to be handled by the relevant security/intelligence agencies of the two countries and to come up with lasting solutions to the problems associated with criminalities and illegalities.
“President Buhari also requested a resumption of the suspended operations of Emirates Airline in the country.”