How news that flow out from the presidency will turn out to be false, is what many Nigerians are wondering. But those who know how people come to power with lies and falsehood, will take solace in their understanding. 

President Bola Tinubu has suffered huge embarrassment following reports of the deal to normalise relations between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


The presidential spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, had earlier in the week said that the UAE had lifted its visa ban on Nigerian travellers. It was an announcement that threw the whole country into celebration.

President Bola Tinubu
President Bola Tinubu

The excitement was excessive, and it brought doubts to the minds of many Nigerians kicking against the government of the All Progressives Congress.

For members of the political party and its supporters, the great feat became a bragging right.

Historic Meeting

Ngelale said the decision was reached on Monday after Tinubu met with UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi.


“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.”

However, the Emiratis later issued a counter-statement, which sounded like a disclaimer, forcing Nigeria to dial back.

Diplomatic sources used the words “furious,” “deeply upset,” and “shocked” to describe the reaction that trailed the Nigerian statement in Abu Dhabi.

No Changes So Far

An official from UAE, who also spoke to the CNN said: “There are no changes on the Nigeria/UAE travel status so far”.


Multiple diplomatic sources told Leadership Newspaper on Friday that the unexpected delay in resolving the issue between both countries could be related to a “mis-briefing” on the broad terms of the discussions between the visiting Nigerian authorities and their Emirati counterparts.

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“What was characterised as resumption of flights and restoration of normal ties was clearly malicious exaggeration,” one diplomatic source said.

“No such commitments were requested, discussed, or accepted.”

Tinubu’s Response

Sources said Tinubu responded with “deep embarrassment” and has ordered an investigation into how the Nigerian statement was issued.

“Of course, UAE would like to expand bilateral relations with Nigeria, but it is unlikely that they want to do so without being sure of what they’re getting back in return,” a diplomatic source said.

“You know that the entire amount outstanding to foreign airlines tied down in the CBN is about $743 million,” one aviation source said on Friday.

“The other airlines are also watching to see how the Nigerian government treats the Emirate Airlines case.”


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