7 Weeks After Tinubu’s Visit, Nigeria, UAE Row Lingers

Nigerians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have decried the delay in resolving the diplomatic row between Nigeria and the Middle East country.


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They urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to urgently interface with the UAE authorities to lift the ban on work permit and visa issuance to Nigerians, saying many of them were experiencing hard times on account of the development.

They said those currently working were living in fear of losing their jobs; while many legitimate residents could not find jobs because of the ban on work permits.

Daily Trust learnt that many Nigerians. who secured jobs with some top rated companies in the UAE, were stranded because the authorities were not issuing fresh residency permits and visas.

It would be recalled that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had, seven weeks ago, visited the UAE to resolve the lingering diplomatic row between the two countries which had seen the UAE flag carrier, Emirates, suspend flights to Nigeria.

After the visit, Tinubu’s spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, had said the UAE agreed to lift the visa ban and that the UAE carriers, Emirates and Etihad, would soon resume flights.

Government officials, including the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, later said discussions were still ongoing.

About two months later, nothing has happened even as Nigerians in UAE said the restriction on Nigerians to work in the Arab country is taking a toll on them.

They specifically called on the Federal Government to clear the Emirates’ Airlines’ trapped funds, saying this was the major reason the UAE government slammed a visa ban on Nigeria.

Daily Trust reports that Emirates Airlines has over $85m of its fund trapped in Nigeria out of over $700m the government is owing airlines.

The Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, had also repeatedly assured that the government would clear the backlog of trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines. 

Most of them have taken to social media to vent their anger over what they called the seeming inaction of the Federal Government while its citizens face untold hardship in the UAE.

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