BREAKING: UAE, Nigerian gov’t officials finalising agreements on visa ban lift — Presidency

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The Presidency has said Nigerian government officials and those of United Arab Emirates (UAE) are finalising agreements on visa ban lift.

President Bola Tinubu had met with Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his UAE counterpart, to resolve the diplomatic dispute between the two countries.

UAE authorities had suspended visa issuance to Nigerians in October last year, while Etihad and Emirates, its leading airlines, also suspended flights to Nigeria.

The developments affected activities of Nigerians who were regular visitors to the Middle East country for businesses, tourism and leisure.

Tinubu had directed the immediate resolutions of the issue when Ambassador Designate of UAE to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, presented his Letter of Credence,” to him at Aso Rock last month.
Daily Trust had reported how Tinubu proceeded to Abu Dahbi, UAE capital, from India, where he attended the G-20 Summit.

In a statement on Monday, Presidential spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, announced that the meeting with the UAE authorities was fruitful.

According to Ngelale, the ban was lifted immediately, while both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines were to immediately resume.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and President of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on Monday in Abu Dhabi, have finalized a historic agreement, which has resulted in the immediate cessation of the visa ban placed on Nigerian travelers.”

“As negotiated between the two Heads of State, this immediate restoration of flight activity, through these two airlines and between the two countries, does not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government,” he had said.

Surprisingly, the UAE authorities did not make reference to lifting of the ban in its statement on the meeting.

Emirates News Agency, the official news agency of the UAE, reported that during the meeting, which took place at Qasr Al Shati in Abu Dhabi, Nahyan renewed his congratulations to Tinubu on assuming the presidency, and wished him every success in leading Nigeria and its people to further progress and prosperity.

Nigerians had expressed mixed reactions to the silence of UAE on the visa ban lift.

But providing further clarification on the issue on Tuesday, Ngelale said, “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. Everyone can now allow the process to work itself out organically, devoid of speculation.” (Daily Trust)