The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has lifted the visa ban that was placed on Nigerian travellers after almost a year. This decision came following an agreement between President Bola Tinubu and the President of the UAE, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
As a result of this agreement, both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines are immediately resuming their flight schedules to and from Nigeria. Notably, the restoration of flight activities does not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government.
In addition to the visa ban being lifted, the two heads of state have established a framework for substantial new investments into the Nigerian economy. These investments are expected to span various sectors, including defence and agriculture, and will involve several billion U.S. dollars.
Furthermore, the leaders negotiated a new foreign exchange liquidity program between the two governments, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.
The official statement is as follows;
“In recognition of President Tinubu’s economic development diplomacy drive and proposals today presented by President Tinubu to his counterpart, an agreed framework has been established, which will involve several billions of U.S. dollars worth of new investments into the Nigerian economy across multiple sectors, including defence, agriculture and others, by the investment arms of the Government of the United Arab Emirates.
“Additionally, President Tinubu is pleased to have successfully negotiated a joint, new foreign exchange liquidity programme between the two Governments, which will be announced in detail in the coming weeks.”
The initial visa ban in October 2022 affected nationals from countries including Uganda, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Cameroon, Liberia, Burundi, Gambia, Togo, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, and others. The reasons behind the bans were not always clear, with some related to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recent lifting of the visa ban on Nigerian travellers signals a positive development in the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE and is expected to facilitate travel and economic cooperation between the two nations. However, it’s important to note that this recent decision specifically pertains to Nigeria and not the other countries affected by the earlier ban.