The House of Representatives has moved to set up an ad hoc committee to resolve the diplomatic row between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The committee is to comprise House committees on Aviation, Foreign Affairs, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, National Security and Intelligence, Interior (Immigration Service), and National Orientation Agency, Diaspora and Treaties.
The new committee is expected to interface with the ministries of foreign affairs and aviation, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), PTF on Covid-19, Immigration Service, Diaspora Commission and National Orientation Agency on the best ways of resolving the crisis.
SaharaReporters learnt on Tuesday that the committee is expected to report back to the House within 4 weeks.
A motion by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, the Minority Leader of the House titled ‘Need To Intervene In The Diplomatic Row Between Nigeria And The United Arab Emirates,’ stressed the need for intervention in the diplomatic row between the two countries.
The motion said, “Note that Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have had a positive diplomatic relationship and in 2009 the UAE established its embassy in Nigeria.
“Further note that in December 2020 a memorandum of understanding was executed between Nigeria and the UAE to provide a platform for both countries to engage each other bilaterally.
“(Be) aware that in February 2021 the federal government of Nigeria stopped the UAE national carrier, Emirates Airline from subjecting Nigerian travellers to additional rapid antigen test as against its stipulated negative PCR test at the Lagos and Abuja airports before departure.
“Further aware that Emirates Airline then shut down flights to and from Nigeria owing to the disagreement between the airline and the aviation authorities on the propriety of subjecting passengers travelling from Nigeria to emergency COVID-19 protocols.
“Concerned that after an interface between the authorities of the aviation ministry and Emirates airline, flights resumed but the Emirates Airline continued to conduct tests for passengers before departure from Nigeria, a development the federal government frowned upon and thus suspended the airline from flying to and from Nigeria.
“Further concerned that there are allegations that hundreds of legal resident Nigerians living in UAE are losing their jobs on account of the refusal of the authorities to renew their work permit which offends the letters of bilateral agreements which both nations are signatories to.
“Worried that there are speculations that the refusal by the UAE authorities to renew work permit for Nigerians living in there is a calculated attempt to pressure the Nigerian Government into accepting their conditions of service for their national airline that may have lost humongous revenue from the Nigeria route.
“Further worried that if the Nigerian government does not urgently engage the authorities of the UAE, thousands of Nigerians living and working will lose their jobs and means of livelihood hence the need for a quick interface with the authorities of the UAE.”
SaharaReporters learnt that accordingly, the House of Representatives resolved to “set up an adhoc committee from the following house committees on Aviation, Foreign Affairs, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19,bnational security and intelligence and Interior (Immigration Service), National Orientation Agency, Diaspora and Treaties respectively to interface with the ministries of foreign affairs, aviation and National Intelligence Agency (NIA), PTF on Covid-19, Immigration Service, Diaspora Commission and National Orientation Agency on best ways of resolving this crisis and report back to the house within 4 weeks”.