March 20, 2023

United Arab Emirates releases visa regulations following the public disturbance by some Nigerians which have generated concerns among other Nigerian travellers. The requirements has however created uneasy calm in the travel industry as the Nigerians have been scrambling to complete the new visa requirements.

In a video,some African youths were seen fighting in a Dubai community, vandalizing properties while an unconfirmed report claimed that a Dubai police was killed by the hoodlums.

This development was condemned by the Nigerian Community In Diaspora Organization (NIDO) and UAE as a swift intervention is taken and a Dubai police got seven of the hoodlums arrested. In a statement read ,“We the Nigerians In Diaspora Organization (NIDO) United Arab Emirates group which represents the interest of law abiding Nigerians in the UAE wish to express our profound gratitude and appreciation to the Dubai Police for their swift action in clamping down on the perpetrators of the disturbing video in the last 96 hours.“We commend the Authority and we wish to state categorically that such illicit acts do not in any way define or represent us. We are good ambassadors, law abiding citizens and therefore, we distance ourselves from those miscreants. We assure the security agencies of our full support and cooperation if the need arises.”

The Criminal case will be registered against the suspects, public prosecution will also be taken for further action .According to article 52 of the UAE Federal Law No. 34 of 2021 on countering Rumours and Cybercrimes.The law stated that whoever uses the information network to announce, disseminate, re-disseminate, circulate, or recirculate news or data, or broadcasts any provocative news that would incite or provoke public opinion, disturb the public peace, spread terror among people, or cause harm to the public interest, the national economy, the public order, or the public health shall be punished with at least one year of imprisonment and a fine of not less than Dh100,000.

The Dubai Police therefore said that if such offense is seen ,it should be reported on the ‘Police Eye Service ’ which is the police app or call the emergency code ‘999’. For the Nigerian community in Dubai, this singular incident was a signal to what would happen in days to come. The incident sent goosebumps to Nigerian immigrants in the Arab country and this was coming at a time Nigerians have issues securing jobs in the country.

The UAE however gave a visa requirements with three new conditions whereby these requirements are to be scanned and uploaded in the visa portal as provided to enable the applicant complete and submit visa application online.The three updated requirements are Hotel reservation/place of stay in UAE, six-month Bank Statement and return flight ticket. While the UAE did not state any reason for the new requirement, it is believed the decision was taken to control the influx of individuals with criminal intent into the country.

An initial suspension application on the Nigerian Community rumor was gathered that the visa was showing pending on the visa status portal which indicates it was neither approved, nor rejected .

The new requirements has given mixed feelings to the stakeholders as majority said it’s a lesson to Nigerians.

About 200,000 Nigerians averagely visit the country annually either for business or tourism.Before now, many Nigerians enjoyed the privilege of travelling to Dubai with very relaxed requirements until some Nigerians began to abuse the near free entry status granted to them, according to analysts.

A Nigerian in search of jobs said “This development is good and also will prevent some fraudulent people coming in. But the point now is, they should allow us that have a visa inside the country work before it expires, please, so that we can pay our taxes and live peacefully. Please beg on our behalf,” .

According to the Director of Research and Strategy, Zenith Travels, Mr Olumide Ohunayo, the UAE as a country can impose any requirement it deems necessary in the interest of her country and the citizens.He said, “Every country has the right to introduce some consular requirements to protect their country and ensure that eligible tourists, visitors or business men are those who come into their country.“The UAE has been very relaxed with their visa. It is the most relaxed of the Middle East countries. Unfortunately, we have not behaved well. We have abused it. At a time, they stopped single ladies from coming except you are 40 and above.“I have no objection to it. It is their country. They need to do what they need to do to safeguard other tourists apart from Nigerians and ensure that their country is protected.”

On Mrs Akporiaye part ,she also gave an approval on the UAE’s decision saying it is their country to do whatever they want , advising Nigerians to do the right thing ,not to misbehave in another land as there’s a difference between doing business or spending holidays.

Marvelous Ogidi

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