The government of the United Arab Emirates, led by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has stopped issuing visas to Nigerians below 40 years, except for those applying for family visas.

Quick catch-up 
This recent development came to light after a viral video last Wednesday showed at least 20 Nigerians stranded at Dubai International Airport and their passports seized by authorities. The viral video sparked angry reactions from Nigerians, with many criticizing the treatment of their fellow citizens. 

  • Clarifying the issue, the federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement by Francisca Omayuli, its spokesperson, said that those stranded at the airport received family visas but arrived the UAE with no family member already in the country. Authorities further advised them to return to Nigeria. 

State of play 
The United Arab Emirates, a country on the Asian continent and with a population of 10 million people, is highly rated for its many tourist attractions sites. Since the 2000s, many Nigerians have been visiting the country for shopping, vacations and other recreational activities. The UAE’s hospitality and wealth of opportunities even led to many Nigerians settling in the country.

  • As years went by, UAE authorities named Nigerians in several violent incidents in different parts of the country, which disrespected the laws of the country. 
  • UAE issued warnings and punishment for offenders, including heavy fines, jail term or deportation.

Why UAE Government Placed Visa Sanctions on Nigerians 
In late July 2022, a cult clash between two rival groups, Eiye and Aiye, broke out in Sharjah. Videos on social media showed both groups fighting in public places and damaging properties in the country. The UAE government responded by suspending visas to Nigeria. Although the government later relaxed the order, Nigerians below 40 years of age will now bear the repercussions. 

  • This event, according to many analysts, is the icebreaker for the UAE government imposing a visa ban on Nigerians below 40 years, except for those applying for family visas.

What you should know 
A 2019 report stated that the number of visitors from Nigeria in 2018 rose by 36% or 185,000 people. Although the country is home to over 192 nationalities, around 50,000 to 100,000 Nigerians live in the UAE.

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