Nigerians will have to say goodbye to vacation jpegs and premium enjoyment in Dubai after three recent events strained relationships between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Nigeria.
On October 21, 2022, the oil-rich country imposed a visa ban on Nigerians and rejected all pending applications without refunds.
No reason has been given for the ban. It’s the latest in a series of issues they have with Nigerians and the Nigerian government.
The rift further escalated when the Nigerian government evacuated 542 stranded Nigerians in the UAE back home on October 23, 2022. The government also gave the returnees $100 (₦43,660) for transportation expenses back to their homes. For once, they tried.
Another issue that strained Nigeria’s relationship with the UAE in the past week is the imprisonment of Dunchi Lar, a Nigerian who exposed the maltreatment of Nigerians in the UAE. This is the tweet that put her in trouble:
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) justified the actions of the UAE government, stating that Lar disobeyed the UAE cybercrime law which prohibits taking a video or picture of someone without their consent and posting such on social media. The offense is punishable by a one-year jail term or a fine of between $69,000 and $137,000. That’s the kind of money that can release Nigeria from some of its debts.
Has there always been bad blood?
The Nigerian government and the UAE have had it out for each other over the past couple of years. In July 2021, the UAE banned Nigerian flights over a disagreement on COVID-19 procedures made by Emirates airlines. In January 2022, the UAE changed its mind and lifted travel suspensions on Nigeria and eleven other countries.
What can Nigerians in the UAE do?
For starters, Nigerians in the UAE need to know the laws and nuances of the land. UAE is a country known for its controversial forms of judicial punishment like stoning and flogging. The government also restricts the local media, which are censored, to avoid the criticism of government officials or royal families. It’s best to stay safe, and obey all laws.