According to the Nigerian Presidency, the United Arab Emirates’ lifting of the visa ban on Nigerians does not indicate that things will return to “business as usual,” particularly in terms of UAE visa applications and processing.
Following the public disclosure of the agreement between President Bola Tinubu and his UAE counterpart Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Media advisor to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, stated that things will be done differently to solve some of the flaws that prompted the visa restriction.
“Every agreement entails mutual accountability. There is no such thing as a free lunch. That is, the belief that the floodgates will open and we will resume business as normal. Nigerians should not anticipate this. “I want to be very clear about this so that everyone understands,” said Ngelale.
He went on to say that “one of the major challenges of the bilateral relationship in terms of visa applications, visa processing, and Nigerians being able to migrate to the UAE, for example, was the fact that there was laxity on the part of certain visa processes or certain applications that were being made that created a lack of specificity and a lack of diligent evaluation with respect to who is travelling to the UAE and why they are travelling.”
“And this is why we had problems.” A few bad apples among our people earned us a terrible name, which was a big sticking point in how we got to this position. So, as part of this process, we have put in place mechanisms to guarantee that both parties exercise effective diligence.”
The UAE reversed the visa ban on Nigerians almost a year after the decision, thanks to an intervention by President Tinubu, who visited with the UAE leader.
The agreement between the two leaders also implies that Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines will restart their flight schedules into and out of Nigeria immediately.
The Presidency further stated that, as agreed upon by the two chiefs of state, the restoration of airline operations did not necessitate any immediate payment by the Nigerian government.