President Bola Tinubu has ordered the immediate resolution of issues affecting relations with the Emirates Airline, and the issuance of visas to Nigerians should be resolved.
The President gave the directive on Thursday when he received the Ambassador of United Arab Emirates (UAE), Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, at the State House in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
Tinubu received Letters of Credence from Al-Shamsi and two envoys at the State House. The two other envoys are Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Awall Wagris Mohammed; and Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba, Miriam Morales Palmero.
Nigeria and the UAE have a long history of restriction of flights between both countries based on certain unresolved issues surrounding the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA). Visa restrictions later surfaced as diplomatic fireworks continued between Nigeria and the UAE, which is a top destination for Nigerian migrants and tourists.
According to a statement by Tinubu’s spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, the President emphasised that he stands prepared to “personally’’ intervene in the diplomatic row between Nigeria and the UAE.
“We are a family in UAE; we only live in separate rooms but in the same house. We should look at the issues as family problems and resolve them amicably. As you know, in every family, there are peculiarities. You can have an erring son or daughter, but we must work together. We need to agree on core aviation and immigration issues,” he said.
On his part, the Ambassador of UAE said he already sees himself as a “Nigerian” considering the historical antecedents of the country, its long-standing leadership role in Africa, and its reputation for hospitality to strangers.
“Since I arrived in the country, I have been working on 24 agreements. We are getting somewhere. These are small issues, all within a family, and they will be resolved. I am grateful to be here in Nigeria. I am also very grateful to meet His Excellency President Tinubu, a great leader in Nigeria and Africa. Please accept me as a Nigerian and consider me a member of your team,” he appealed.