The United Arab Emirates has stopped approving visas to Nigerians and has directed that all previously submitted applications should be put on hold.
It was also gathered that about 500 stranded Nigerians in Dubai would be evacuated back home by the Federal Government and were expected to arrive at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Saturday.
Dubai Immigration, in the notice to its trade partners in Nigeria, which include travel agents, also stated that “all Dubai applications submitted are now rejected.”
“The UAE authorities informed us that the rejections will be sent in batches,” a travel agent told our correspondent on Saturday, as the source provided a copy of the notice.
The travel agent stated that the new order would be due to the concerns between the Nigerian and UAE governments, as no reason was given by Dubai authorities for the visa application ban.
One of our correspondents gathered that the returnees would be received by the National Emergency Management Agency at the Hajj facility of the General Aviation Terminal private wing, NAIA.
The expected time of arrival for the returnees was not certain as of the time of filing this report, as the plane that would convey them to Nigeria would take off from the United Arab Emirates. Efforts to get the federal ministries of aviation and foreign affairs to react to the development in the UAE were unsuccessful.
However, in August this year, the Federal Government advised Nigerians intending to travel to the UAE to be guided by the new visa regime in the country. It disclosed this in a statement by the spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Francisca Omayuli.
The statement read in part, “The general public is invited to note and be guided that the government of the UAE has introduced a new visa regime and has stopped issuing tourist visas to persons under the age of 40 years, except for those applying for family visas.”
In a related development, the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission has called on the South African authority to investigate the killing of one Nwankwo Gabriel.
Speaking in an interview with one of our correspondents, the spokesperson of Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, on Saturday said NIDCOM did not have the jurisdiction to investigate such issues but would allow the South African government to take up the matter.
He said, “Investigation will resume but we are not the one to do the investigation, we will only urge the South African authorities to do the necessary investigation and unravel the issue.”