UAE yet to lift travel visa restriction on Nigerians – Official

Date:

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is yet to lift the visa restriction on Nigerian travellers after a two-year diplomatic row, President Bola Tinubu’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

A document credited to the UAE Embassy, Abuja in circulation on social media claimed that the UAE has lifted the restriction on travel visa for Nigerians. It claimed that Tinubu and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had meetings to reach an agreement after a two-year diplomatic row between the countries.

“All Nigerian applicants for UAE visas are required to first obtain a Document Verification Number This essential step is to be completed by visiting the dedicated online Document Verification Hub platform (official link https://documentverficationhub.com,” a part of the document said.

However, Bayo Onanuga, a spokesman for the Nigerian president said the document was not authorized by Nigeria and the UAE as the content claimed.

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

Nigeria and UAE authorities were enmeshed in a diplomatic row that culminated in UAE’s Emirates Airline halt its flight operations to the West African country due to trapped funds since 2022. Emirates Airlines puts the figure at $85 million.

Nigeria’s leader at the time Muhammadu Buhari had a phone call with UAE’s President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, where he appealed for lifting the travel ban on Nigerians.

Buhari told Nahyan that he had directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to increase foreign exchange allocation to the airline while all concerned government officials were working on the trapped funds.

The Nigerian government thereafter said it released $265 million to airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding ticket sales. The CBN also promised to release another $120 million to the international carriers to offset part of the trapped funds by the end of October 2022.

One month later, Emirates Airlines announced the suspension of inbound and outbound Nigerian flight operations “to mitigate against further losses moving forward”. The airline has since not resumed operations in Nigeria.

Source: The Punch

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