By Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dr Fahad Al Taffaq, has put the volume of trade between his country and Nigeria around $1.5 billion, the figure which is based on trade in 2018 was mainly from the non-oil bilateral trade.
Ambassador Taffaq, who made the revelation in Abuja, noted that the figure is expected to rise with the recent opening of a consulate office in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, in June this year.
He was speaking at an event organised to commemorate the 48th anniversary of the UAE in Abuja.
The envoy said to further show increasing bilateral relations between the UAE and Nigeria, the two main UAE airlines (Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways) now operate a combined 28 flights weekly from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Lagos and Abuja, representing the highest flight route from Nigeria to any other country globally.
“On December 2 of each year, we reflect on our nations’ achievements and what we need to accomplish in the coming year. Ours is a comprehensive development agenda which aims to look after the present as well as to plan for the future and to compete with confidence on the world stage relying on proper planning, technological know-how and our extensive human capital, the most important resource of the country.
“In this regard, as part of the ongoing effort to increase cooperation between both nations, the UAE based-bniversity, Skyline University Nigeria, was opened in 2018 and is fully operational in Kano State offering over 15 degree courses in both under graduate and Post Graduate studies in Arts, Management and Social Sciences as well as Science and Information Technology to over 200 students, this provides excellent higher-education opportunities for young Nigerians and the West-African sub-region,” Taffaq said.
He said the leadership of the UAE declared 2019 as the Year of Tolerance to reinforce the fact that more than 200 different nationalities live in an atmosphere of openness, mutual respect and coexistence based on the principle of tolerance, a policy which has helped the country gain great mileage in its developmental quest.
Taffaq while disclosing that his country in pursuit of its humanitarian policy assisted over 22,000 Nigerian victims of insurgents in the North-east in 2019 alone, said the mission has targeted over 7 million Nigerians in its eye treatment for the next four years.
The Eye Treatment programme is run by a UAE-based non-governmental charity organization, Noor Dubai Foundation, under the Mohammed Bin Rashid Global Initiatives.
The programme throughout its four-year span will provide sustainable, preventative and curative eye care services for the people of Katsina and the region at large as well as improve the quality of lives of the people.
“On the occasion of the United Arab Emirates National Day, Noor Dubai Foundation celebrated by launching an eye treatment camp to screen and treat people who are in need of eye care, prevention and management services in Daura, Katsina State.
“This eye camp is part of the activities of the comprehensive eye care programme that was launched under the patronage of the wife of the President of Nigeria, Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, in July 2019.
“The programme will provide sustainable eye care services by partnering with the Ministry of Health in Katsina State and other international NGOs actively involved in providing eye care services. Noor Dubai and it’s partners will implement a budget of $2 million which is projected to provide a socio-economic yield of $8 million in increased productivity,” a statement by the CEO of Noor Dubai Foundation, Dr. Manal Taryam, said.