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UAE official denies reports of lifting the visa ban on Nigerians



An official of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has cast doubt on the Nigerian government’s assertion that it has lifted the visa ban previously imposed on Nigerian travellers, adding to a growing controversy.

The UAE official, who requested anonymity, contradicted the Nigerian government’s claim, stating,

  • “There are no changes on the Nigeria/UAE travel status so far.”

This conflicting information comes after Presidential spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale announced that the visa ban was lifted following a meeting between President Bola Tinubu and Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Tinubu’s UAE counterpart.

The meeting took place during Tinubu’s visit to Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, after attending the G-20 Summit in India.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Ngelale declared,

  • “President Bola 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 travellers.”

He further announced that both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines were to resume flight schedules into and out of Nigeria without delay.

However, the UAE authorities did not address these issues in their statement after the meeting, causing uncertainty among Nigerians.

The UAE’s statement focused on the commitment of both countries to strengthen their ties and explore opportunities for further bilateral collaborations.

In response to the growing controversy, Ngelale later stated that officials from both countries needed more time to finalize agreement details, contradicting his initial statement that the issue had been resolved.

He emphasized the need to allow cabinet officials from both sides to work out the finer details and finalize cross-sectoral agreements.

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, provided further insight during the Aviation Africa Summit in Abuja, noting that there was no specific timeframe for the resumption of flights.

  • “So, we are beginning to work out all the tiny details. I met with the Emirate before I left UAE, and we are working out the details. We cannot say the timeframe. Kicking off an airline operation again on a route does not mean you will go and grab one empty plane sitting in a place,” Keyamo explained.

As the conflicting statements continue to raise questions, the status of the visa ban and the resumption of flights between Nigeria and the UAE remains uncertain, leaving travellers in suspense.


Dangote Refinery to start production by October and November 2023



The Dangote Refinery is gearing up to commence refining operations, with plans to produce diesel and jet fuel by October 2023 and petrol by November 30, 2023, according to the Executive Director of the Dangote Group, Devakumar Edwin.

According to reports, Edwin in an interview with newsmen disclosed that the refinery is on track to receive its first crude cargo within two weeks.

Initially, the facility is set to produce up to 370,000 barrels per day of diesel and jet fuel in October 2023.

Furthermore, Edwin outlined the refinery’s strategy for gradually increasing petrol production, to reach an impressive 650,000 barrels per day by November 30.

He expressed the refinery’s readiness to receive crude oil:

  • “Right now, I’m ready to receive crude. We are just waiting for the first vessel. And so, as soon as it comes in, we can start.”

Regarding the shift in the original timeline, Edwin explained that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) had already committed their crude oil to another entity on a forward basis, causing a temporary delay.

He assured that this setback is momentary, and the refinery will exclusively use Nigerian crude oil from November 2023 onwards.

Edwin highlighted that the Nigerian oil will be purchased in US dollars, not in naira, as the refinery operates within a free trade zone on the outskirts of Lagos. However, due to its equity stake, the NNPCL will supply some crude at discounted prices.

The Dangote refinery is equipped to process various crudes, including most African grades, Middle Eastern Arab Light, and even US light-tight oil.

Edwin stated,

  • “We can take even some of the Russian grades… if the global system opens up to allow us to receive them. If you look at our production profile, 50% of my production will meet 100% of the requirements of the country.”

Excess gasoline, meeting 10 ppm sulfur Euro 5 quality, will be exported to other African markets, the US, and South America, albeit in relatively small volumes.

Jet fuel will be exported to Europe, while diesel will be sold in sub-Saharan Africa.

Edwin emphasized that the refinery would benefit Nigeria significantly, providing a reliable supply of environmentally friendly refined products and generating substantial foreign exchange for the country.

Furthermore, he noted that the Dangote refinery will play a pivotal role in addressing fuel supply challenges faced by import-dependent West Africa, particularly following Nigeria’s removal of fuel subsidies, which had resulted in a thriving illicit gasoline market due to price fluctuations.

Edwin added that the revenues generated from the refinery’s operations will be reinvested in further developments, underscoring Aliko Dangote’s commitment to Nigeria.

  • “The money will be coming back in, and it will go for further investments,” he affirmed, highlighting Dangote’s dedication to the nation.
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Senate President, Godswill Akpabio faces strong opposition amid allegations of loyalty to Tinubu



A brewing political storm is on the horizon as top politicians within the Senate, gear up to challenge Senate President Godswill Akpabio’s leadership when the Senate resumes later this month.

The unhappy forces are reportedly angry by what they perceive as Akpabio’s submissiveness to President Tinubu, rather than prioritizing the interests of lawmakers and the Nigerian public.

Accusations have been levelled at Akpabio, a former Akwa Ibom State Governor, suggesting that his close relationship with the President has diverted his attention from his colleagues and hindered his ability to address the pressing concerns of Nigerians amid the nation’s challenges.

Reliable sources have confirmed that a group of dissatisfied Senators, led by two former North West governors, intends to capitalize on Akpabio’s recent misstep, where he claimed that “prayers” had been sent to their mailboxes for celebrations, to take punitive action against him.

A well-placed source within the National Assembly, knowledgeable about the brewing plot, revealed that the anti-Akpabio faction has convened multiple meetings, including gatherings in Saudi Arabia and Ilorin, to finalize strategies for Akpabio’s potential impeachment upon the Senate’s return.

The source within the National Assembly disclosed,

  • “Among Senator Akpabio’s ‘sins’ is his perceived ‘highly-subordinated relationship with President Bola Tinubu. Additionally, the ‘token’ slip by the Senate President on the day of adjournment for the ongoing recess forms the basis for the move to serve him the famous ‘banana peel’ treatment.”

Despite Akpabio’s subsequent clarification and retraction of his “prayer” comment, it failed to mollify many of his colleagues who had publicly expressed their disapproval.

The source further noted,

  • “All of these actions are part of preparations for the 2027 general elections, where a new ‘hybrid party’ is expected to emerge, drawing membership from both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition parties, particularly the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
  • The goal is to replicate the ‘tsunami’ that rocked the then-ruling PDP in 2014 when many party heavyweights defected to form what is now known as the SPC.”

As the Senate gears up for its resumption, political intrigue and manoeuvring promise to be at the forefront of Nigeria’s political landscape.

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President Tinubu nominates Yemi Cardoso as CBN Governor and four deputy governors



President Bola Tinubu has put forward Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso for the position of Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This announcement was made in an official statement released by Presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, on Friday.

According to the statement, this appointment is contingent upon the confirmation of the Senate.

It stated,

  • “President Bola Tinubu has approved the nomination of Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso to serve as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for a term of five (5) years at the first instance, pending his confirmation by the Nigerian Senate.”

The appointment aligns with Section 8 (1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, which grants the President of Nigeria the authority to appoint the Governor and four Deputy Governors for the CBN, subject to Senate confirmation.

Additionally, President Tinubu has nominated four individuals for the role of Deputy Governors of the CBN, also for a term of five years initially, pending Senate confirmation.

The nominees are as follows:

  1. Mrs. Emem Nnana Usoro
  2. Mr. Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo
  3. Mr. Philip Ikeazor
  4. Dr. Bala M. Bello

Under President Tinubu’s “Renewed Hope” agenda, these nominees are expected to implement crucial reforms at the CBN, aiming to boost the confidence of both Nigerians and international partners in the restructuring of the Nigerian economy, ultimately leading to sustainable growth and prosperity for all.

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