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    Governor’s Forum: The Jamboree In Kigali

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    The governors’ trip to Kigali is ill-advised

    Under the aegis of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), many of the 36 governors are currently in Kigali, Rwanda where they completed a three-day leadership retreat yesterday. According to claims by the organisers, the programme was funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). But we understand that the UNDP only paid for the venue, facilitators, and conferences costs. The governors and their retinue of aides bear the real costs for their transport, hotel, allowances, and other incidentals. Even at that, we fail to understand how an institution like UNDP which keeps telling Nigerians that they are multi-dimensionally poor will join in enabling our political leaders on this expensive jamboree.

    If one of the aims of the programme is to nurture “skills to support deep listening and self-awareness”, then the governors must accept that they are indeed deficient when it comes to self-awareness. Otherwise, they would not have embarked on this exercise at this time, especially when it is being held outside Nigeria. Under whatever guise, a three-day programme that causes many governors to desert their states to a foreign country remains inexcusable. With everything going on in Nigeria right now, it is ill-timed, ill-advised, and insensitive. That some governors in a troubled zone jettisoned a programme they had initiated to fly to Kigali is telling of their lack of seriousness.

    We are in such dire economic circumstances that most Nigerians cannot afford one respectable meal a day. Besides, at a time we are seeking investors and tourists in Nigeria, our governors are ferrying themselves to another tourism destination in Africa. Would it not have had more impact on our national pride and economy if that programme had taken place in Uyo, Yankari, Ibeju Lekki, or elsewhere within?

    It is unfortunate that many of our leaders have no sense of shame. Otherwise, governors would not incur huge costs at public expense to travel to Kigali for a retreat. Many of these states have better resources than whatever Rwanda has to make it a destination of choice. While Rwanda has shown the difference in leadership, there is no clear understanding of the objectives of this trip. Paul Kagame and his regional prefects will not empty out into Abuja for any such programme.

    At a recent meeting, the National Economic Council (NEC) comprising all the governors announced that the federal government had approved N5 billion for each state of the federation as palliatives to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal. But there has been controversy over the implementation in many of these states. It is therefore self-deception for our public officials to imagine they need to undergo some tutelage in Rwanda on “multiple complex challenges” when they cannot handle basic tasks. Clearly, these trips are not driven by altruistic motives. They are meaningless and add nothing to the quality of lives of the citizens. They have also become a source of international embarrassment and are proof that the real issues of governance are still lost on many of our leaders.

    Over the years, the NGF secretariat has turned workshops, seminars, and foreign programmes into one big racket for the governors. Yet, questions remain as to how these programmes impact the governing process in the states. If anything, the indices of poverty everywhere make it difficult for us to understand the recklessness that drives this junketing. Indeed, notwithstanding the excuses, the trip to Kigali is bizarre in conception and irresponsible in terms of the funds expended on it.

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    BREAKING NEWS: UAE Considering Slashing Visa/DVN Fees for Nigerians

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    BREAKING NEWS: UAE Considering Slashing Visa/DVN Fees for Nigerians

    On October 21, 2022, the UAE government announced a ban on 20 African countries, including Nigeria.

    However, on July 15, 2024, Nigeria’s Information Minister, Mohammed Idris, announced that the ban “had been lifted following a mutually beneficial discussion” between Nigeria and the UAE.

     

    Also read: Nigeria, UAE to Strengthen Partnership, Collaboration

     

    Since this announcement, there has been a frenzy of information activities in the media.

     

    Visa Fees and Banking Requirements:

    Changes are imminent and reveal a source close to the UAE. Following the recent lifting of the visa ban, the UAE imposed more controls on the visa process, requiring document verification to ensure the authenticity of documents submitted by applicants.

    The Document Verification Number (DVN) fee was structured at 640,000 NGN by the website managing the DVN process, documentverificationhub.ae. Additionally, a bank balance of 15 million naira was requested as a precondition to obtain a visa.

    These stringent fees and banking requirements have caused significant concern and backlash among Nigerian travellers and stakeholders.

     

    Potential Review and Reduction of Fees:

    In response to the widespread concern, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) requested through official channels that the UAE reconsider these fees.

    However, only the UAE has the power to lower these stringent conditions, something the Nigerian government has been actively pushing for.

    Sources close to the UAE have revealed that a new and revised rate for DVN and the bank balance requirement is imminent. This potential review aims to make it more affordable for Nigerians to visit the UAE for tourism, business, and family visits.

    The FG’s efforts appear to have been successful, with several sources confirming that the UAE is seriously considering revising the fee structure.

     

    Impact on Nigerian Travelers:

    A reduction in DVN and visa fees would alleviate the financial burden on Nigerian travellers, making it easier for them to visit the UAE. This move is expected to foster stronger ties between the two nations, encouraging more tourism, business engagements, and cultural exchanges.

    Lowering the fees would likely increase the number of Nigerian visitors to the UAE, boosting tourism and economic activities. It would also provide an opportunity for more Nigerians to explore business and investment opportunities in the UAE.

     

    Timeline and Implementation:

    Although the exact timeline for the fee reduction has not been announced, changes are anticipated soon.

    Detailed guidelines and updated fee structures are expected following the review.

    The potential reduction of visa and DVN fees underscores the UAE’s commitment to maintaining strong bilateral relations with Nigeria.

    This development signifies a positive step towards more inclusive and affordable travel policies, benefiting Nigerian citizens and enhancing diplomatic ties.

    The DVN will improve Nigeria’s image in the UAE, hoping that more credible people will be able to travel & do business in UAE with ease and remove negative perception from the few Nigerians involved in crime

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    Nigeria, UAE to Strengthen Partnership, Collaboration

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    Nigeria, UAE to Strengthen Partnership, Collaboration

    Plans are underway to further strengthen areas of partnership and collaboration between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

    This was revealed during the visit of the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa to the Embassy of UAE in Abuja, following the removal of the visa ban by placed on Nigeria by the Arab country.

    Dabiri-Erewa who was received by the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, stated that NiDCOM intends to engage and sensitise Nigerians in the UAE to be good ambassadors of their country of stay and country of origin, to excel in whatever they are doing and never to forget home.

    She added further “this initiative aims to foster better understanding and compliance with local regulations,” while disclosing that 190 Nigerians were repatriated to Nigeria, with an additional 250 expected to return soon.

    She said the actions of individuals in a host country could greatly impact the overall image of their home country, noting that the role of Western media imperialism in perpetuating negative stereotypes about Nigerians.

    The UAE Envoy on his part, explained that the visa ban on Nigeria has been officially lifted.

    He confirmed that the Visa on Arrival policy has been canceled for all countries, but assured that the new procedures are designed to facilitate tourism and ensure travelers’ safe return.

    The Ambassador expressed his commitment to providing the best possible services for Nigerians, with the support of the determined Nigerian government.

    He also acknowledged the UAE’s role in safely repatriating 96 Nigerians at no cost.

    Marking his one-year anniversary as the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Al-Shamsi shared his positive impressions of Nigeria, describing it as a beautiful country with warm-hearted people who share similar cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds with the UAE.

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    UAE to Resume Issuance of Visas to Nigerians from Today—FG

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    BREAKING NEWS: UAE Considering Slashing Visa/DVN Fees for Nigerians

    The federal government has disclosed that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has agreed to lift the travel ban on Nigerians from Monday, July 15, 2024.

    The Minister of Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Mohammed Idris, told State House correspondents in Abuja today that both nations reached an agreement to allow Nigerian passport holders to obtain visas for travel to the country.

    Recall that about two years ago, the government of UAE suspended visa issuance to Nigerians following a period of protracted diplomatic row.

    Last year, the Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Media and Publicity, Mr Ajuri Ngelale, claimed that the travel ban was lifted until the Arab nation denied it.

    A few months ago, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo, said efforts were being made to resolve the issues and ensure Emirates Airline resumes flight operations in Nigeria.

    It was stated that the Emirates would resume the Lagos-Dubai flights from October 1, 2024.

    Ahead of this scheduled flight resumption, Mr Idris said Nigerians with the green passport would now be issued visas by the UAE government.

    The Information Minister made the announcement after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held on Monday at the Presidential Villa.

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