Femi Otedola praises Tinubu for resolving UAE visa ban on Nigerians, restoring air travel

by MMC
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Prominent Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola, who is president of Geregu Power Plc and as a Director of FBN Holdings Plc, commended President Bola Tinubu for his pivotal role in resolving the diplomatic dispute between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This dispute resulted in a visa ban for Nigerians and Etihad and Emirates Airlines suspended operations to and from Nigeria.

The successful resolution of this long-standing issue came to fruition after President Tinubu’s visit to the UAE leadership and subsequent negotiations, which led to the lifting of the visa ban on Nigerians and the rapid resumption of air transport services.

In a statement issued yesterday, Otedola commended President Tinubu for his skillful diplomacy in bringing the matter to a conclusion. Otedola stressed that a leader with a deep understanding of the importance of international trade relations would recognize the significant opportunities that arise from restoring and strengthening ties between nations.

Furthermore, Otedola praised President Tinubu’s bold economic policies, which have helped reshape Nigeria’s economic landscape since his inauguration just a few months ago. He said these policies, although difficult in the short term, will ultimately lead to prosperity and a better future for the country.

Otedola pledged to increase his investments in Nigeria, citing the effective leadership of President Tinubu as the driving force behind his renewed confidence in the economic management of the country.

“Asiwaju Tinubu’s leadership is transforming Nigeria, and I urge my countrymen and women to be patient. Thanks to Asiwaju’s policies, Nigeria will experience complete recovery in the near future. We are witnessing the storm before the calm and I am confident that we will soon experience the much-awaited tranquility and progress,” Otedola said.

Otedola highlighted one of the lesser-known benefits of this resolution: the potential to reinvigorate the stock market. He pointed out that Middle Eastern investors, known for their ample liquidity, have remained largely untapped by Nigeria. This advancement will open new avenues for capital injection into the country.

Furthermore, Otedola highlighted the positive impact on ordinary Nigerians, who can now explore business and leisure opportunities in the UAE without hindrance. He stressed the importance of recognizing President Tinubu’s exceptional leadership qualities and courage in navigating this difficult diplomatic terrain.

“Indeed, Asiwaju has demonstrated exemplary leadership and the transformation is evident. Tinubu’s economic diplomacy, if sustained, will reshape Nigeria’s international image, attract foreign investment and improve Nigeria’s global standing. It is our collective duty to support this administration, transcending our differences. Nigeria urgently needs foreign exchange, and this presidential initiative deserves to be commended,” Otedola concluded.

The historic agreement between Tinubu and his UAE counterpart, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was sealed in Abu Dhabi on Monday, leading to the immediate lifting of the visa ban on Nigerian travelers. Additionally, Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines will quickly resume their flight schedules to and from Nigeria, marking a significant milestone in bilateral relations.

Ajuri Ngelale, spokesperson for the Nigerian president, issued a statement detailing the results of the negotiations. The agreement, as reached between Tinubu and the UAE ruler, entails the immediate resumption of flight operations of the two airlines between the two countries. Notably, this does not entail any immediate financial obligation on the part of the Nigerian government.

The spokesperson also revealed that in recognition of Tinubu’s economic development initiatives and proposals, an agreed framework has been established for substantial investments worth billions of US dollars in various sectors including defence, agriculture, etc., by the investment branches of the United Arab Emirates. government.
Additionally, Tinubu successfully negotiated a joint foreign exchange (forex) liquidity program between the two governments, further details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.

It is worth noting that in October 2023, the UAE had banned nationals of around 20 African countries, including Nigeria, from entering its capital, Dubai. In addition, Emirates Airlines suspended its flight operations to Nigeria in December due to difficulties in repatriating blocked funds, initially estimated at $85 million. Previously, strained relations led Emirates Airlines to reduce its flight frequencies to Nigeria, citing slot limitations.

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