Despite a diplomatic row with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – the host country for Expo2020 – over COVID-19 protocols, Nigeria’s pavilion which opened a few days back has started gaining traction.
The country’s pavilion is located in the Opportunity District for the six-month-long exhibition.
Nigeria joins a long list of participating countries that are seeking to make the most of the global event which kicked off on October 1st.
At the Nigerian pavilion, music can be heard by passers-by, while images of different cultural attire are displayed on walls outside it. From Afrobeat star Fela Anikulapo Kuti to Grammy winner Burna Boy, the success stories of Nigeria’s music industry are also on display.
The roof is covered with art by Victor Ehikhamenor. Other arts are also on display; from the ancient to the contemporary, including a life size horse sculpture by Dotun Popo.
A peep into the pavilion reveals different sections promoting opportunities in the creative, agricultural, culture and tourism, sports, and tech sectors. Screens in the pavilion share information about states and sectors in need of investment.
While it is unclear how the country would fare in Expo2020, the exhibition is expected to further open up Nigeria to more investments and bring tourists to the nation.
Before the Expo, Nigeria had a fractured relationship with the UAE. This was after the Middle East nation imposed a ban on transit flights from Nigeria as it battled a rise in COVID-19 cases.
Although the move was reversed in early August, the Federal Government faulted the COVID-19 protocols put in place by the UAE, claiming discriminatory treatment by the UAE.
“The story is they (UAE) have a protocol that discriminates against Nigeria and it was specifically targeted at Nigeria and we said no, and it’s on behalf of the people,” the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika said during a briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 in Abuja on September 14.
“We’ve gone through the ministry of foreign affairs, now we’re been mandated by the task force (PSC) jointly with the foreign affairs to resolve this impasse.
“Nigeria has no issue with the Emirates, but against the preferential treatment.”