Nigeria’s president, Bola Tinubu, has ordered an immediate resolution to disagreements with Emirates Airline and visa issuance by the United Arab Emirates, the president’s spokesman said on Thursday.
The UAE stopped issuing visas to Nigerians last year after Dubai’s Emirates suspended flights due to an inability to repatriate funds from Africa’s biggest economy.
Tinubu’s office said in a statement on Thursday that he met with the UAE’s ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, and that Tinubu is prepared to “personally” intervene in the dispute.
“We must work together. We need to agree on core aviation and immigration issues,” Tinubu said in the statement.
Al-Shamsi was quoted in the same statement as saying; “We are getting somewhere. These are small issues, all within a family, and they will be resolved.”
Emirates Airline said in March it has “substantial” revenue trapped in Nigeria and has made slow progress in repatriating the blocked funds.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said in March that Nigeria was withholding at least $743 million in revenue earned by international airlines operating in the country.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, is facing a shortage of foreign exchange despite some reforms.