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Group condemns Buhari’s silence on employment plights of Nigerians in UAE

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THE Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation United Arab Emirates (NIDO-UAE) has slammed the Nigerian government of Muhammadu Buhari for failing to act in the interest of citizens who have been victims of national origin-based discrimination in their country of residence for over six months.

In a statement made available to The ICIR on Friday, Director of the group Fernando Judel Chikwado said that out of more than 200 nationalities living and working in the UAE, only Nigerian citizens were treated differently, which spoke to the weak diplomatic relations existing between both countries.

“There are more than 200 nationalities living and working in the UAE. We ask, why would one out of 200 nationalities smoothly working in the UAE be different and our Government cannot provide us with a fair play environment like other countries,” the statement queried.


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Hundreds are starving, homeless as UAE denies work permits to Nigerians


The UAE Population in 2021 stood at 10 million, according to the data provided by the United Nations. While the immigrant and expatriate population constituted approximately 89 per cent of the population (8.84 million), Emiratis or the UAE nationals make up only 11 per cent or 1.15 million.

Currently, the Indian population in UAE is the highest with 2.75 million, followed by Pakistanis with 1.27 million. The UAE has around 0.75 million Bangladeshi nationals, 0.56 million Filipinos, and 0.48 million Iranians.

There are also people from Egypt (0.42 million), Nepal (0.32 million), Sri Lanka ( 0.32 million) and China (0.21 million). The rest of the world, including Nigeria, make up the remaining 1.79 million.

“If the duties and responsibilities of a Government are to be highlighted and reviewed accurately, we ask, …are we not Nigerians or have we not done the needful by writing and reporting our employment plight in the UAE to the relevant Government Authorities to intervene?

“We deserve to be communicated. Explain explicitly what is happening so we know our fate instead of keeping bonafide citizens in suspense. We should be protected and cared for in foreign lands,” Chikwado said.

The UAE has unofficially restricted work permits for Nigerians since July 2021, making impossible for Nigerians with expired work permits to renew them. Consequently, thousands of jobs have been lost, leaving many stranded and frustrated.

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Last December, Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige announced that the country would be signing employment agreements with Qatar and the UAE to protect 7000 Nigerian citizens working in these countries.

“We have an agreement that will specify what kind of work they do, protection for them and protection for even their employers over there,” said Ngige.

“Whether work permit issuance/renewal is officially communicated or not, it is the duty of the Federal Government of Nigeria to amicably engage UAE Government to accept more labours from Nigeria irrespective of professions,” the statement by NIDO-UAE concluded.

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