The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has contradicted claims by the Nigerian government that plans are underway to lift the visa ban on Nigerian travellers after 11 months.
Recall that earlier this week, President Bola Tinubu met with UAE leader Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi where both men “finalized a historic agreement,” according to a statement released by the Nigerian government.
The government said in the statement that the agreement paved the way for the lifting of the visa ban, including the immediate resumption of flights between both countries.
“Furthermore, by this historic agreement, both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines are to immediately resume flight schedules into and out of Nigeria, without any further delay,” a statement by Nigeria’s presidential spokesman Ajuri Ngelale said.
However, a statement by the UAE government later Monday said both leaders had during the meeting, “explored opportunities for further bilateral collaboration” with the hope of “reinforcing ties between the UAE and Nigeria,” but did not mention lifting the visa ban or flights restarting.
In a follow-up statement, Nigerian government spokesman Ngelale said officials from both countries needed more time to finalize agreement details, contradicting his earlier statement.
“Given the agreement struck between the two Heads of State, there is need to allow cabinet officials from both sides to work out the final details and finalize the cross-sectoral agreements,” he said, adding that “Everyone can now allow the process to work itself out organically, devoid of speculation.”
An official from UAE who spoke to CNN said also said, “there are no changes on the Nigeria/UAE travel status so far.”