Following the resolution achieved by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and President of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, flights and businesses are poised to resume at full capacity,Daily Trust reports.
This announcement has generated mixed reactions, with stakeholders applauding the diplomatic efforts of President Tinubu and President Al Nahyan, which led to the lifting of the visa ban imposed on Nigerians.
In what is being hailed as a “historic agreement,” Tinubu successfully negotiated with his UAE counterpart to reinstate Nigeria-UAE flights, which had been suspended since October of the previous year.
According to Chief Ajuri Ngelale, the Presidential spokesman, both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines are now slated to immediately resume their flight schedules to and from Nigeria without any further delays.
This restoration of flight activities, as negotiated by the two heads of state, comes with no immediate financial burden on the Nigerian government. In recognition of President Tinubu’s economic diplomacy efforts and proposals, a framework has been established for several billion dollars’ worth of new investments into the Nigerian economy across various sectors, including defense, agriculture, and others, by UAE government investment arms.
Furthermore, a new joint foreign exchange liquidity program between the two governments has been successfully negotiated by President Tinubu and will be detailed in the coming weeks.
In conclusion, President Tinubu commended UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his unwavering friendship and efforts to fully normalize and enhance relations between the two nations.
However, experts in the aviation industry have emphasized the need to protect the interests of Nigerian carriers in restarting commercial flights between the two countries.
Recalling past issues, relations between both countries were strained due to various factors, including trapped funds, cult-related activities in the UAE attributed to Nigerians, and the denial of slots to Air Peace, a Nigerian carrier, at Dubai International Airport.
The UAE suspended visa issuance to Nigerians in October of the previous year, impacting businesses and leisure travel. With the resumption of flight operations, stakeholders anticipate a boost in trade relations and more flight options for Nigerian travelers. However, they stress the importance of safeguarding Nigerian airlines’ interests.
Analysts suggest that negotiations should consider the issues related to Air Peace and Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) reciprocity to prevent future conflicts. Additionally, addressing the trapped funds issue is crucial to ensuring the sustainability of the improved relations.
In the international relations perspective, the president’s diplomatic efforts are commended as a positive step for his administration. It is believed that Nigerian carriers’ interests would have been addressed during these negotiations. Nigerian carriers are encouraged to rise to the occasion and meet international standards in the competitive global aviation environment.
In summary, the resumption of flights and improved relations between Nigeria and the UAE is seen as a positive development, but ongoing efforts are needed to protect the interests of Nigerian carriers and address financial issues between the two countries comprehensively.