About 542 Nigerians who were stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been successfully evacuated and returned to their homes.
Africa Daily News, New York gathered that the returnees were received on Sunday by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
They arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja via a Max Air chartered flight at 4:29 a.m.
The citizens comprised 79 males, 460 females, and three infants, according to a statement by NEMA spokesperson, Manzo Ezekiel.
They were screened by health officials, profiled by various relevant agencies, and cleared by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
Ezekiel disclosed that NEMA gave each of them a token to aid their transportation to their destinations.
The Director-General, Mustapha Ahmed, advised them to learn from their experiences and contribute to national development.
The Consul General of Nigeria in Dubai, Atinuke Mohammed, accompanied the returnees back to the country.
Recall that Immigration authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had over the weekend announced a visa ban on Nigerians submitting that all submitted applications stand rejected while fees are non-refundable.
Africa Daily News, New York gathered that the announcement became public knowledge late Friday in a notice issued to its trade partners in Nigeria including travel agencies.
Although no reason was provided for the ban, the Dubai authorities have now confirmed that all applications were on-hold until issues between the UAE government and the Nigerian government were effectively thrashed out.
The latest decision made by the UAE immigration authorities is for all Nigerians seeking to travel to the UAE.
‘All Dubai applications submitted are now rejected. It is general for Nigerians and approvals are on hold at the moment.
‘Kindly advise your clients to resubmit C2=A0 applications when the issue is resolved between both governments,’ the notice to Nigerian travel agents declared.
A source from Wakanow, who confirmed the story to Africa Daily News, New York said, ‘It is true, it was issued yesterday. The Dubai immigration did not state when the ban would be lifted but for now, everything is on hold.’
Speaking with a customer representative from Air Peace, it was gathered that the airline is still flying to Dubai with those who already have a valid visa. The representative added that if any changes were to occur as regards flight for Nigerians, it would be duly communicated, adding that no issue had been raised at the moment.
Africa Daily News, New York reports that the UAE has imposed a series of restrictions on Nigeria which has straitened the diplomatic relationship between the two countries in recent times.