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UAE counters Nigerian govt, denies lifting visa ban on Nigerians

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has countered the Nigerian government, and refuted claims by the Nigerian government that it had lifted a year-long visa ban on Nigerians wishing to travel to the country.

Nigerian government officials had last Monday released a statement that the visa restriction had been lifted following a high-powered meeting between President Bola Tinubu and UAE leader, Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

In the statement, presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, had claimed that the visa ban was lifted.

“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,” Ngelale had said.

“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,” he added.

However, an official of the Gulf state government on Friday contradicted the Nigerian government position on lifting the visa ban, saying there were no changes on the travel status yet.

“There are no changes on the Nigeria/UAE travel status so far,” the official said in an interview with the CNN.

During the week, another UAE official had, in a statement, said the UAE President and Tinubu 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.

The visa ban on Nigerian travellers came into effect last October when the UAE announced that it would no longer issue visas to citizens from Nigeria and 19 other African nations.

Flights between both countries were also stopped after Dubai’s flagship Emirates Airline suspended its operations in Nigeria, citing trapped revenues after it could not access and repatriate its funds amounting to $85 million withheld in Nigeria.

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Shelve your planned protest, I’m addressing your grievances, Tinubu begs Nigerian youths

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President Bola Tinubu has called on aggrieved Nigerian youths and organizers of the planned nationwide #EndBadGovernance protests on August 1 to shelve the plan as he is working hard to address their concerns.

Tinubu, who made the plea on Tuesday through the Minister of Information National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, said there was no need for the protests as he had heard the cries of Nigerians and was doing everything possible to address them.

Idris, who conveyed the President’s message while speaking with State House correspondents after a meeting with Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the president was working assiduously to ensure the country’s economy was placed in a good position.

“We discussed the issue of the country in general and Mr President has asked me to again inform Nigerians that he listens to them, especially the young people that are trying to protest.

“Mr President said he listens to them and takes what they say seriously and he is working assiduously to ensure that this country is good not just for today, but also for the future.

“The issue of the planned protest, Mr President does not see any need for that, he asked them to shelve that plan and he has asked them to await the government’s response to all their pleas, he has listened to them,” Idris said.

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Zambia: PF lawmaker Chitotela sentenced to 10 years in prison

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A Member of Parliament in Zambia, Ronald Chitotela, has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of arson by the Kawambwa Magistrates’ Court.

Chitotela, an MP on the platform of the Patriotic Front (PF) who represents Pambeshe Constituency in the Parliament, was found guilty by Magistrate Martin Namushi of malicious damage, and received a five-year sentence on one of the counts.

He was also sentenced to an additional 11 months for threatening violence and 18 months for occasioning actual bodily harm.

Chitotela’s co-accused, Nixon Chilangwa, another MP who represents Kawambwa Constituency, was acquitted of arson charges but according to the Magistrate, was not spared from the law.

Chitotela, although acquitted of charges related to threatening violence and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, now awaits the High Court’s decision on the arson charges.

According to media reports, Chitotela, Chilangwa, and five others were dragged before the Kawambwa Magistrates’ Court on charges bordering on arson, threatening violence, malicious damage to property and assault, all allegedly committed during the August 2021 general elections.

The others involved in the trial were Kalumba Chifumbe, Davy Kaniki, Chabu Chitotela, Charity Musantu, and Kunda Chitotela.

Chifumbe was sentenced to five years for malicious damage to property, threatening violence, and threatening actual bodily harm, Kaniki and Kunda Chitotela were found guilty of arson, while Musantu was been acquitted of all charges.

Magistrate Namushi also denied the bail applications for Chilangwa and Chifumbe, citing unconvincing reasons for their release.

The defense team is expected to appeal for bail in the High Court.

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