When a graphic from Flyworld travel and tour surfaced on social media about two days, indicating that new visas and renewals for Nigerians in UAE have been stopped, many Social media users linked the restrictions to the cases involving multi-million-dollar fraudsters, Ramon Abbas and Olalekan Ponle, the two Nigerians who were nabbed in Dubai in June.
The visa suspension also covers the approval for permanent residents returning and tourist visas.
“All Previously Issued Visa are now invalid, while all Visas for those presently in Dubai expires next week,” the travel agency added.
Now The United Arab Emirates, responding to the huge rancour raised by this unusual step has explained that issuance of visas to Nigeria was suspended temporarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic as against speculations of severed bilateral relations between the two countries over the embarrassing financial activities of the two Nigerians popularly addressed as Hushpuppi and Woodberry respectively.
The two notorious Nigerians have already been extradited to the U.S. and are facing charges.
However, in response to the recent social media reports, the UAE embassy in Nigeria said the restriction was in line with the COVID-19 protocols and has remained till date mainly because of the closure of Nigerian airspace.
“In an affirmation of the growing bilateral relations between the two friendly countries, the UAE Embassy in Abuja denies the accuracy of the information contained in these reports,” the statement shared via its verified Twitter handle read.
“At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE took a number of precautionary measures to combat the virus’ spread, including the temporary suspension on issuing UAE visas for all nationalities as of March 17, 2020.”