President Muhammadu Buhari Monday called for the lifting of the blanket visa ban on Nigerians by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The president made the request while condoling with the President of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed, on the death of 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, symbolised by robust economic interactions and regular consultations on matters of common interest, including engagements at the highest political levels,” Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesperson, said in a statement.
The UAE in October 2022 placed a ban on Nigeria which bars Nigerians from entering the country.
The Nigerian leader admitted that some Nigerians may be violating the laws of the UAE but said that was not enough to impose a blanket ban. He said no country including Nigeria will condone criminalities and illegal behaviours.
Mr Buhari expressed readiness to apply necessary sanctions through appropriate judicial processes against persons who commit criminal acts in the UAE. He urged 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.
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He also requested a resumption of the suspended operations of Emirates Airline in Nigeria.
Emirates Airlines suspended its operations in Nigeria in October 2022 due to its inability to repatriate its funds trapped in Nigeria.
Mr Buhari assured that the issue of the Emirates’ funds was receiving appropriate attention alongside those of other foreign airlines operating in Nigeria.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, he added, had been directed to increase foreign exchange allocation to the airline.
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