The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has appealed for the visa ban on Nigerians to be lifted. President Muhammadu Buhari said in a tweet that he made the appeal via a phone call to the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Nahyan when he called to sympathise with him on the loss of his mother-in-law.
The UAE, in October last year reportedly slammed a visa ban on Africa’s most popular country, Nigeria, and about nineteen others in the continent.
Sierra Leone however refuted the claim. The country’s embassy in the golf nation said it never received such notice, and instead, pointed its citizens to new reforms the country introduced. Uganda also denied the claims.
For Nigeria, the blanket visa ban was upheld, as Nigerians have not had access to the UAE since then. While there was no known reason for the decision, many people pointed out that it was a repercussion for misconduct carried out by Africans in the middle east country.
Buhari said UAE and Nigeria have enjoyed “excellent and beneficial relations for many years, including at the highest political levels.” On this note, he emphasised the possibility of resolving issues arising between them, saying they “can and must”.
He went on to say that they are mindful of the consular issues relating to the behaviour of some Nigerians in the UAE but assured that they are applying the necessary sanctions through appropriate judicial processes to hold those guilty accountable.
He also appealed for the resumption of Emirates Airlines which suspended operations in the country due to the inability to repatriate funds in November last year. This was caused by the scarcity of dollars in the country. President Buhari has said that they will be making additional foreign exchange available to the flights that were affected.