The UAE will resume issuing visas to Nigerian travellers and flights by the Gulf state's airlines Etihad and Emirates to Africa's biggest economy will restart immediately after the leaders of both countries signed an agreement on Monday.    

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and President of the UAE, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, Tinubu's spokesman Ajuri Ngelale said in a statement on Monday evening.     

"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 said.    

"As negotiated between the two Heads of State, this immediate restoration of flight activity, through these two airlines and between the two countries, does not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government."    

In October last year the UAE stopped giving visas to Nigerians and Dubai's Emirates airline cancelled flights to Nigeria after the West African country stopped repatriating the airlines' earnings to the Gulf state.     

Nigeria has withheld revenue worth more than $700 million earned by international carriers operating in the country, the global airline industry group IATA has said.     

Nigeria has been facing severe shortages of foreign currency but is undergoing reforms introduced by Tinubu including the removal of foreign exchange controls to ease the flow of foreign capital.        

Tinubu said last month that he was prepared to "personally" engage in resolving the visa issue at a meeting with the UAE's ambassador Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi in Nigeria's capital Abuja.     

At the meeting on Monday with the UAE president, Tinubu also negotiated a new foreign exchange liquidity programme between the two governments, which will be announced in detail in the coming weeks, his spokesman said.    

The two countries also agreed on a framework which will involve several billions of dollars worth of new investments from the UAE to Nigeria. The investments would be in various sectors, including defence and agriculture, the spokesman said without giving further details.    

Tinubu's visit to the UAE was a stopover from his trip to India for the G20 Summit, where Nigeria received billions of dollars worth of investment pledges from Indian companies.

(Editing by Seban Scaria