UAE Refutes Claims of Visa Ban Lift for Nigerians
In a recent twist of events, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has contradicted earlier claims by the Nigerian government regarding the lifting of a year-long visa ban on Nigerian travelers.
An unnamed official from the Gulf state clarified to CNN that “There are no changes on the Nigeria/UAE travel status so far.” This official emphasized that the situation remains unchanged and requested anonymity as they are not authorized to speak to the media.
To provide some context, the UAE had announced last October that it would no longer issue visas to citizens from Nigeria and 19 other African nations, though specific details were not provided. This move disrupted the relatively straightforward process of obtaining a 30-day tourist visa, which was previously accessible to Nigerian nationals.
Furthermore, flights between the two countries were halted last year when Dubai’s Emirates airline suspended its operations in Nigeria, citing issues related to withheld revenues amounting to $85 million.
The UAE, particularly Dubai, has long been a favored destination for Nigerian travelers. Before the visa ban, Nigerians also played a significant role in Dubai’s real estate market, with investments valued at nearly $2 billion.
Recent developments had raised hopes of the visa ban being lifted after Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu met with UAE leader Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi. A statement from the Nigerian government had indicated that a historic agreement was reached, including the resumption of flights between the two nations by both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines.
However, the UAE government later released a statement that did not mention the lifting of the visa ban or the restart of flights. It focused on “exploring opportunities for further bilateral collaboration” and “reinforcing ties between the UAE and Nigeria.”
In response, Nigerian government spokesman Ajuri Ngelale stated that officials from both countries needed more time to finalize the agreement’s details, contradicting the earlier statement. He emphasized the need to allow the process to unfold without speculation.
This situation has caused confusion among travelers and stakeholders in both countries, especially among excited Nigerians who had initially celebrated the news of the visa ban being lifted.
For now, the status of the UAE’s visa restrictions for Nigerians remains unchanged, and travelers are advised to stay informed about any updates regarding visa requirements for their journeys to the UAE.