Following Monday meeting in Abu Dhabi between Nigerian President Bola Tinubu and his United Arab Emirates counterpart, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE announced the end of a visa ban imposed on Nigerian nationals last year.
The ban was put in place by the UAE government as a result of diplomatic disagreements between the two countries.
The United Arab Emirates stopped issuing visas to Nigerian nationals last October after Emirates Airlines was forced to halt all operations in Nigeria, because it was not able to repatriate its earnings stuck in in Africa’s most populous country due to foreign currency exchange issues.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Nigeria has withheld at least $743 million in revenue from international airlines flying to and from Abuja.
In August 2023, Nigerian President urged an “immediate” and “amicable” resolution to diplomatic riff with the United Arab Emirates during a meeting with the UAE’s ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi.
President Tinubu informed the UAE diplomat that he was personally prepared to step in and negotiate the settlement of the dispute.
According to Nigerian government officials, the UAE president agreed to the “immediate restoration of flight activity” between Abuja and Abu Dhabi by Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines without “any immediate payment by the Nigerian government.”
“By this historic agreement, both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines are to immediately resume flight schedules into and out of Nigeria, without any further delay,” Chief Ajuri Ngelale, special adviser to Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, said in an official statement, issued after the agreement to resume normal relations between two states was reached.