The Nigerian Presidency says the reversal of the visa ban on Nigerians by the United Arab Emirates does not mean that things will go back to “business as usual”, especially as it concerns UAE visa applications and processing.
On Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday, just moments after President Bola Tinubu and his UAE counterpart Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan made their agreement public, Media aide to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, said things would be done differently to address some of the loopholes that led to the visa ban.
“Every agreement comes with mutual responsibility. There is no free lunch. What I mean by that is the notion that floodgates will open up and we go back to business as usual. That is not what Nigerians should expect. I want to be very clear about this so that everybody can understand,” Ngelale said.
Speaking further, he noted that “one of the major challenges of the bilateral relationship with regards to visa applications, visa processing and with respect to Nigerians being able to migrate to the UAE for example, was the fact that there was a laxity on the part of certain visa process or certain applications that were being made that it created a lack of specificity and lack of diligent evaluation with respect to who is travelling to the UAE and why they are travelling.
“And this is why we had issues. Just a few bad eggs among our people giving a bad name to all of us which was a major sticking point as to how we got to this point. So, what we have done as part of this process is to put in place measures to ensure there is effective diligence done on the part of both sides.”
The visa ban on Nigerians was lifted by the UAE almost one year after the decision following an intervention by President Tinubu who met with the UAE leader.
The agreement between the two leaders also means that Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines are to immediately resume flight schedules into and out of Nigeria.
A statement by the Presidency also added that as negotiated between the two heads of state, the restoration of flight activities does not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government.