A United Arab Emirates (UAE) official has contradicted the claim by the Nigerian government that it has lifted the visa ban imposed on Nigerian travellers.
According to CNN, the official from the Gulf state disclosed this in a chat.
“There are no changes on the Nigeria/UAE travel status so far,” the source asked not to be named was quoted to have said.
Presidential spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, had claimed that the visa ban was lifted after President Bola Tinubu met with Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his UAE counterpart, on Monday.
Daily Trust had reported how President Bola Tinubu proceeded to Abu Dahbi, UAE capital, from India, where he attended the G-20 Summit.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Ajuri had said, “President Bola Tinubu and President of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Monday in Abu Dhabi, have finalised a historic agreement, which has resulted in the immediate cessation of the visa ban placed on Nigerian travellers.
“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.”
But the UAE authorities were silent on these issues in a statement they issued after the meeting, fueling suspicion among Nigerians.
In its statement, the Middle East country said Nigeria and the UAE would work together to reinforce their ties and explore opportunities for further bilateral collaborations.
Apparently reacting to the controversy created by his initial comment, Ngelale had said officials from both countries needed more time to finalise agreement details, a pure contradiction of his previous statement that the issue had been resolved.
“Given the agreement struck between the two Heads of State, there is need to allow cabinet officials from both sides to work out the finer 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.”
Asked to react to the visa ban and flight resumption issue during the Aviation Africa Summit in Abuja on Thursday, Festus Keyamo, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, said there was no timeframe.
He had said: “So, we are beginning to work out all the tiny details. I have met with Emirate before I left UAE, and we are working out the details. We cannot say the time frame. Kicking off an airline operation again on a route, does not mean you will go and grab one empty plane sitting in a place.”