Nigeria’s presidential spokesperson accused of misleading public over UAE visa ban

A Nigerian human rights group has condemned the presidential spokesperson for misleading the public over the UAE’s visa ban on Nigerian travellers.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) said that Ajuri Ngelale had falsely claimed that the UAE had lifted the visa ban after President Bola Tinubu met with UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

However, CNN reported that an unnamed official from the Gulf country had refuted this statement and said that the visa ban, which was imposed on Nigeria and 19 other African countries in October 2020, still stands.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko said Mr Ngelale had deceived Nigerians and tried to cover up his blunder by saying that authorities from both countries needed more time to finalise agreement specifics. The group said that this was a clear indication of his incompetence and lack of professionalism as a presidential spokesperson.

HURIWA demanded that President Tinubu should issue a query to Mr Ngelale and make him apologise for his misleading statements. The group also said that Nigerians do not want another four years of government aides’ misinformation and fake news.

President Tinubu’s office has not yet commented on the allegations.

The UAE visa ban has been a major source of frustration for Nigerians, who have long complained of discrimination. In 2022, the Nigerian government said that it was working with the UAE to lift the ban, but no progress has been announced since then.

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