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UAE reinstates airline operations and lifts the visa ban on Nigerians


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After nearly a year, THE United Arab Emirates (UAE) has abolished its visa requirement for travelers from Nigeria.

Presidents of Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, concluded a deal on September 11 in Abu Dhabi that lifted the embargo.

Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines were ordered to immediately restart their flight schedules into and out of Nigeria, according to a statement made public by the President’s spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale.

The statement made it clear that the two leaders’ agreement to resume flights on these airlines did not call for immediate payment from the Nigerian government.

One of the 20 African nations that are prohibited from visiting Dubai, the capital of the UAE, is Nigeria.

Muhammadu Buhari, a former president of Nigeria, acknowledged that some Nigerians could be breaking UAE law, but he insisted that this was insufficient justification for a complete ban.
No nation, including Nigeria, he claimed, would tolerate criminal activity and illegal behavior.

However, The ICIR had already reported on the divide between the two nations in other reports, thus that wasn’t the first time the UAE has barred Nigerians from entering without a visa.

The Neo-Black Movement of Africa (also known as BlackAxe) and the Aromate Group (also known as Barggas), two competing cult groups, clashed in Sharjah in July 2020, resulting in fatalities including the Aromate Group’s top leader. As a response, the UAE placed limits on Nigerian visas.

As its embassy in Abuja made clear, the ‘temporary suspension’ of visas was a preventative step to address the spread of the COVID-19 virus. During that time, the UAE denied placing Nigerians on a “blacklist” of people who were denied visas to enter the country.

The UAE adopted many preventative measures to stop the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading, including the temporary suspension of issuing UAE visas to all nationalities beginning on March 17, 2020, the embassy tweeted.

According to the then-Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the prohibition was removed in September after Nigeria consented to permit Emirates Airlines’ operation in Nigeria, which had been halted owing to the pandemic.

However, a dispute over COVID-19 testing standards resulted in the suspension of flights between Nigeria and the UAE in May 2021. Sirika noted that these actions were deliberately targeted at Nigeria.

In a subsequent study, the ICIR underlined how discrimination and limitations on the granting and renewal of work permits by the UAE were causing Nigerians to lose their employment and live on the streets.

According to a report by this organization, more than 300 Nigerians had their job in the UAE terminated between July and September 2021 as a result of the government’s restrictions on issuing and renewing work licenses for Nigerians.

In addition to limiting travel to and from Nigeria, the UAE also arbitrarily limited visas for Nigerians, according to Nigerian officials.


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