The United Arab Emirates has contradicted claims by the Nigerian government that it is to lift a year-long visa ban on travellers from Nigeria.
An official from the Gulf state told CNN: “There are no changes on the Nigeria/UAE travel status so far.”
According to CNN, the source asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.
In a notice last year, the UAE said it will no longer issue visas to citizens from Nigeria and 19 other African nations. It did not provide further details. Obtaining a 30-day tourist visa was relatively easy until the UAE abruptly stopped issuing visas to Nigerian nationals.
Flights between both countries were stopped last year after Dubai’s Emirates Airline suspended its operations in Nigeria, citing trapped revenues.
The carrier said it could not access and repatriate its funds to $85 million withheld in Nigeria.
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 lifting 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.