THE Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided an explanation on why some Nigerians with valid visas were barred from entering the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earlier this week.
A statement released Monday evening by the spokesperson of the Ministry Francisca Omayuli said the supposedly stranded Nigerians were issued family visas but many of them arrived the country without their families.
“They were denied entry and advised to return to their country and apply for the appropriate visas.
“Those who claimed their family members were on another flight were told to wait at the airport pending their arrival,” Omayuli said.
On Wednesday August 31, a Twitter user with the handle @Dunchichi shared a video showing some Nigerians having an altercation with a UAE official, who insisted that they “go outside”.
@Dunchichi had claimed in the video that about 20 Nigerians were being held in a room, with their passports seized hours after they arrived the airport, without any explanation.
“I’m at Dubai international airport and myself and some other Nigerians with valid visas are being held in a room hours after arriving with no explain and no information on what we can do. Please help me. There’s more than 20 of us.
“Is it a crime to be Nigerian? How can a visa be issued to you and then you get held at the airport without information? My sister that came to see how she can help is not being given any information either and I have not been able to see her. If they are sending us back. Then they should send us back instead of holding us here without reason after long flights from different destinations,” she said.
Providing an update on the situation later that day, @Dunchichi said: “My sister had to go through immigration to get me released. It was a tedious process. Others are still there and I don’t know their status.”
The Ministry has now advised Nigerians about the new visa regime introduced by the UAE government that restricts tourist visas to persons under the age of 40 years, except for those applying for family visas.
It urged prospective visa applicants to clearly indicate their visa preferences and respect the immigration laws of other countries to avoid unwarranted treatments.