• As UAE deports 542 Nigerians
• Denies Nigerians visa
• Sentences Nigerian lady to one-year jail term over twitter post
‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
DAILY COURIER – The federal government of Nigeria has kept mum over a brewing diplomatic row with the United Arab Emirates, UAE on recent hostile actions towards Nigerians.
The United Arab Emirates has stopped approving visas to Nigerians and has directed that all previously submitted applications should be put on hold.
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 notice read in part, “Kindly advise your clients to resubmit C2=A0 applications when the issue is resolved between both governments.”
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.
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.”
UAE deports 542 stranded Nigerians
A total of 542 stranded Nigerians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) evacuated by the Federal Government arrived Nnamdi Azikiwe Int’l Airport Abuja on board the @MaxAirLtd Charted flight.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Head, Press Unit, Mr Manzo Ezekiel, confirmed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
According to him, the returnees arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on board Max Air Charted flight at 4:29 a.m.
He added that the returnees included 79 males, 460 females and three infants.
He added that the returnees were screened by health officials, profiled by various relevant agencies and cleared by the Nigerian Immigration Service, before being given a token to aid their transportation to their destinations by NEMA.
Earlier, Mr Mustapha Ahmed, Director-General, NEMA, who officially received the returnees on behalf of the Federal Government, admonished them to learn from their experiences and be law abiding citizens.
Ahmed, who was represented by the Director of Finance and Account of the agency, Mr Sani Jiba, added that the Federal Government had approved the evacuation and provision of the token to support their movement back to their various homes.
The Consul General of Nigeria in Dubai, Amb. Atinuke Mohammed, who accompanied the returnees back to the country, appreciated the Federal Government for the special intervention in the safe evacuation of the citizens.
The returnees were received by officials of NEMA, Airport officials, security agencies, National Commission for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), NAPTIP, NIDCOM, NDLEA, Nigerian Correctional Service, Nigerian Custom Service, NCDC, Port Health Services, among others.
Sentences Nigerian lady to one-year jail term over twitter post
In a related development, A Nigerian woman, identified as @dunchichi on Twitter, has been reportedly sentenced to a one-year jail term by the United Arab Emirates government for a social media post, showing how some Nigerian nationals were illegally detained at Dubai international airport.
On 31st August, @dunchichi posted on Twitter how she was detained together with other Nigerians despite possessing a valid visa.
“I’m at Dubai international airport and myself and some tiger Nigerians with valid Visas are being held in a room hours after arriving with no explain and no information on what we can do. Please help me. There’s more than 20 of us,” she wrote.
But another user, @jerrydoubles, who claimed to be her relative, on Saturday announced that @dunchichi had been sent to jail for an offence relating to her earlier post in Dubai
He said, “It is sad and regrettably heartrending to tell you all that @dunchichi was sentenced on 12th Oct 22, to 1yr in jail in Dubai. Her family are devastated and Nigeria didn’t save her.”
“Her sentence came from the backdrop that she got a family visa to travel. But in fact, she was there with her sister. It got messy & complicated, she was released on arrival after being detained for several hours, only to be sentenced when she was returning to Nigeria.
“They are capitalising on the fact that she made a video then posted them on her Twitter timeline to narrate the ordeal. They said it’s cybercrime in their country. She went ahead to delete it. Still, that didn’t soften them. Now she is jailed #justicefordinci.”
He further added that her family were planning to protest her conviction at the Dubai consulate office in Abuja.