x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

A happy return - but what about Nigeria?

One Emirati has returned safely from an ordeal in the West African country, but the people of Nigeria can't escape their problems so easily, a reader notes. Other topics: pavement, Yemen, more malls, and imprudent subsidies.

Mohammed Khamis Majed's rescue was a bright spot amid Nigeria's troubles, a reader says. Christopher Pike / The National
Mohammed Khamis Majed's rescue was a bright spot amid Nigeria's troubles, a reader says. Christopher Pike / The National

I refer to 'It's a new life, a new beginning' (March 27). I can almost feel the happiness of the relatives and the friends of this young man who returned to the UAE two months after he was abducted by armed Nigerian kidnappers.

All businessmen and adventurers should inform their governments about their trips and stay away from unstable areas obviously. The UAE is committed to the safety of its citizens wherever they are.

I think that the overwhelming poverty and glamour of fast money drives criminality worldwide. Kidnapping businessmen, blowing up pipelines of oil companies and fighting government troops have been common in Nigeria.

The Niger Delta looks like a fairly dangerous destination on television as masked gangsters armed with guns speed through the streets with black cars and tinted windows, wailing sirens, carrying or protecting businessmen and travellers.

Being the 12th largest producer of oil in the world and home of savannahs, coconut-lined beaches, rainforests and endless natural beauty, Nigeria deserves better.

Ali Sedat Budak, Abu Dhabi

Road expert said what we all know

The good news is that the city has invited an expert on walkable cities to conduct a "walk audit" of Abu Dhabi's pedestrian areas (Capital is an obstacle course for pedestrians, March 26).

The bad news is that the city's officials greeted this news with the statement that "the efforts of the concerned authorities are continuous to make each block in the island and the emirate liveable", and that "the priority is to design streets for pedestrians first before cars". Really?

It is not just the high kerbs, the dangerous pedestrian crossings and the physical barriers placed on sidewalks, all of which Dan Burden cited in his audit.

It is the appalling state of the sidewalks throughout the city - which start and stop and have huge holes.

The dangers posed to walkers have increased, rather than decreased, since I arrived here seven years ago.

Jan Newton, Abu Dhabi

Foreign meddling threatens Yemen

I found US warns on meddling in Yemen's transition (March 27) to be very interesting. All Yemeni politicians, especially those from the previous government, need to play a constructive role in the transition process rather than bring down the unity government.

Unless Yemeni politicians and civilians work together to confront Yemen's security, economic and humanitarian challenges, there will be an opening for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Foreign aid and support cannot make a country stable and sustainable immediately, but can pave the way towards development, prosperity and progress.

I believe that Yemenis will fully support the newly elected president to take Yemen out of the dark tunnel into which Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year-rule dragged the country.

Ayse Arzu Caglayan, Turkey

When will the mall madness end?

The news of yet another mall (MAF scouts location for Abu Dhabi mega

mall, March 27) left me shaking my head. At this point Abu Dhabi does not seem to me to be underserved by retail outlets, and now we are to have many more, with several big malls already planned and now this one.

There's a terrible sameness about our malls. I don't believe I am alone in saying that quirky backstreet shops, which are being killed off fast, are often more interesting than air-conditioned blandness and the many chain restaurants.

Ian Allanby, Abu Dhabi

How safe is our bottled water?

I refer to Bottled water batch taken off the shelves (March 27).

Something doesn't quite make sense. If the water is safe, why was it withdrawn? I usually choose Masafi but this makes me wonder.

Austin Jackson, Dubai

Wasteful subsidies must be curtailed

The story Calls to cut water use and guard sea (March 27) has experts repeating the same advice all the other experts have given: raising the retail price of tap water is by far the best way to encourage conservation, which we urgently need to do.

And in your business section there's an article (LNG imports just a short-term solution to fuel the country, March 27) noting that the UAE will pay $16 (Dh58.7) per million BTUs of gas and sell it to the public for $3.

Subsidies that encourage waste do more harm than good.

Peter Burrell, Dubai