BY Bolaji Ogundele,
A five-member United Arab Emirates (UAE) team is in Nigeria to harmonise positions with Nigerian authorities for the final stage resumption of commercial flights between both countries and issuance of visas to Nigerians.
The Nation gathered that the delegation comprising Almannaei Khalid, Janahi Asma, Alshehhu Rasheed, Teo Teck San, and Alhosani Talal arrived in Nigeria on Sunday.
A top official of the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in Abuja that the UAE team are already liaising with relevant Nigerian officials on the terms agreed by President Bola Tinubu and Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi during their Abu Dhabi meeting on September 10.
The Foreign Affairs official, who did not want his name in print, revealed that some members of the team have already met with relevant Nigerian personnel.
He explained that some members of the UAE delegation were mandated to handle all the terms regarding the visa ban while the rest, made up of Emirates Airlines chiefs, are focussing on flight resumption.
Tinubu and Al Nahyan had agreed at the Abu Dhabi parley that the visa ban on Nigerians and suspension of commercial flights by UAE be lifted in the interest of both countries.
The Foreign Affairs source said: “They (UAE officials) came to meet with our own officials who have roles to play in fulfilling the agreements reached in Abu Dhabi. “I believe there are just a few more final touches to be put on the agreements, then those terms will become active.
“In essence, by the time these last steps are finalised, in a matter of days or weeks, the issue of visa ban and flight restrictions would have been sorted and then flights by UAE airlines and our own Air Peace can resume their normal routes.”
Although Nigeria and the UAE have continued to maintain their diplomatic contacts, relations became strained when, in October 2022, the Emirati authorities slammed a visa ban on Nigerian travellers after Emirates Airlines suspended flights to Nigeria.
UAE had reacted to the failure of Nigeria to repatriate billions of dollars trapped funds belonging to Emirates Airlines.
However, President Tinubu started mending relations with the country, which has become a choice destination for thousands of Nigerian travellers.