The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, on Monday, said Nigerians shouldn’t expect “business as usual” while talking about the lifting of the visa ban by the United Arab Emirates on Nigerian travellers.
In October 2022, the UAE banned nationals of about 20 African countries, including Nigeria, from entering its borders.
But on Monday, the UAE lifted the months-long visa ban on Nigerians, after Tinubu paid a visit to his UAE counterpart, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi.
Both presidents were able to finalise a “historic agreement,” which resulted in the immediate cessation of the visa ban placed on Nigerian travellers.
Consequently, both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines were ordered to immediately resume flight schedules into and out of Nigeria, without any further delay, Ngelale said.
In his interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, Ngelale noted that a major challenge in the bilateral relationship between both countries with regard to visa processes or applications was due to a laxity which further resulted in a “lack of diligent evaluation” of people who are going to the UAE and reasons they travel.
The presidential media aide said, “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.”
He said further, “One of the major challenges of the bilateral relationship with regard 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 processes 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.”
Ngelale mentioned that certain measures had been put in place to ensure that effective diligence was done by both nations.
“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,” he noted.