CLAIM: On Wednesday April 3, Kayode Ogundamisi (@ogundamisi) tweeted that Nigerian passport holders are no longer eligible for three-months UAE visa.
On Wednesday April 3, an influential Nigerian Twitter user based in the United Kingdom, Kayode Ogundamisi (@ogundamisi) tweeted that Nigerian passport holders are no longer eligible for three-months UAE visa.
“No more 3 months UAE Visa? See what @Buhari did to us in Dubai? Abi is it not Buhari’s fault, how did he think he could get away with robbing a UAE Bureau de Change?
“On a serious note, how can UAE punish law-abiding Nigerians for the actions of a few rogues?”
Ogundamisi was reacting to a travel notice published by Africholiday Travel, a travel agency based in Lagos.
“Nigerian passport holders are now restricted to one month, 96 hours and 48 hours UAE Tourist visa till further notice,” Africholiday stated.
As at the time of this fact check, Ogundamisi had 417, 000 followers and 144, 000 tweets. The claim has however, got over 1, 000 re-tweets and more than 1,000 likes on the social media.
The tweet was sequel to the arrest of five Nigerians identified as Chimuanya Emmanuel Ozoh, Benjamin Nwachukwu Ajah, Kingsley Ikenna Ngoka, Tochukwu Leonard Alisi and Chile Micah Ndunagu at the United Arab Emirate (UAE) for allegedly stealing Dh2.3 million at a Bureau de Change in Sharjah, UAE’s third largest city.
According to reports, the robbers who entered Dubai using a tourist visa on March 18, barged into the Bureau de Change and smashed the glass barrier, fixed between the customers and staff of the Bureau. A viral video footage further showed how they allegedly stole the money.
The Sharjah Police authorities noted that it received a theft report and immediately moved to the crime scene before the culprits were eventually arrested.
Reacting to the unfortunate incident, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora Matters, Abike Dabiri-Erewa condemned the act, describing it as shameful.
In a statement she issued through her Special Assistant on Media, Abdur-rahman Balogun, Dabiri-Erewa urged Nigerians living abroad to imbibe good character while advising embassies in the country to do a thorough screening of applicants before being issued a visa.
The ICIR found out that the claim was sourced from the official Instagram page of Africholidays. The organisation which has over 16,700 followers with 3, 802 posts shared the claim an hour before Ogundamisi tweeted it.
Hours after, the information started trending on social media while some online media also reported the news.
Verifying the claim
The official website of the UAE does not contain such information as at the time of this fact check. In fact, the latest news on the embassy’s website was posted on 4th March. A global immigration consulting firm, B.A.L recognised for assisting with visa issues also has no such information.
However, findings revealed that the last time the UAE amended its requirements on visa issuance to Nigerians was in October 2016. It demanded additional documentation from Nigerians to ensure that UAE employers meet up with their tax obligations regarding Nigerian employees in Dubai.
Ogundamisi and Africholidays were both contacted to disclose their information source but only the travel agency responded.
“Direct source as of today. Most people don’t stay for 3 months anyway but still...” the Instagram account handler stated.
In a press statement to debunk the claim on its Twitter handle, the UAE Embassy said it has not suspended the issuance of a three-month tourist visa to Nigerian passport holders.
“In the light of press reports published today alleging that the UAE has suspended issuing tourist visas to Nigerian nationals, the UAE Embassy in Abuja announces that this news is inaccurate and stresses the importance of sourcing news from its official channel.”