Nigerian president orders immediate resolution to Emirates blocked funds dispute

On Thursday, the spokesperson for Nigeria's president, Bola Tinubu, announced that he had ordered the prompt resolution of disputes with Emirates Airlines and the United Arab Emirates regarding visa issuance. In 2020, the UAE ceased issuing visas to Nigerians due to Emirates' suspension of flights caused by difficulties repatriating funds from Africa's largest economy. 


Tinubu met with the UAE's ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, and expressed his willingness to personally intervene in the matter. In a statement, Tinubu emphasized the need for cooperation and agreement on key aviation and immigration matters. According to Al-Shamsi, progress was being made and the issues, which he described as "small," would be resolved. 


Emirates Airlines disclosed in March that it had a significant amount of revenue trapped in Nigeria and had encountered slow progress in repatriating the blocked funds. As per the International Air Transport Association(IATA), Nigeria has withheld at minimum $743 million in revenue earned by foreign carriers operating in the country. Despite certain reforms, Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, is experiencing foreign currency shortages. 

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The scarcity of dollars has made it challenging for some foreign airlines that sold tickets in Nigerian naira currency to retrieve their funds from the country.

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