UAE has not lifted visa ban – Nigeria govt clarifies

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The presidency said the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has not lifted the visa restriction on Nigerians.

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Bayo Onanuga, special adviser on information and strategy to President Bola Tinubu, made this known on Tuesday.

In a statement via his X account, Onanuga clarified the document announcing the restriction has been lifted was not authorised by the Nigerian and UAE governments.

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“UAE has not resumed visa issuance to Nigerians. The document in circulation is not authorized either by the Nigerian government or the UAE,” Onanuga said.

Onanuga’s statement followed a document he shared earlier on X, which said UAE has lifted the ban on visa applications from Nigerians two years after a diplomatic row.

UAE and Nigeria have been engaging in a diplomatic row over issues involving flight allocations and travel bans since 2021.

On December 13, 2021, UAE issued a travel restriction on passengers from Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, citing a surge in the countries’ COVID-19 cases from passengers of the two African nations.

The travel ban might not be unconnected with the diplomatic row between Nigeria and UAE, over Air Peace’s flight frequency to the Arab country.

Air Peace had requested a slot of three weekly flights from Nigeria to Sharjah Airport in UAE, but only one was granted by the country’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

GCAA said Air Peace should not expect to retain its flight frequency after pulling out of Sharjah Airport — the Nigerian airline, however, denied the claim.

In retaliation to Air Peace’s treatment in UAE, the federal government dropped Emirate’s slots from 21 to one — leading to the Dubai-based airline suspending all its flights to Nigeria.

Meanwhile, on September 11, 2023, the federal government said UAE had lifted its visa ban on Nigerian travellers, however, on September 15, last year, an official of the Arab country said the restriction was still in place.

 

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