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    Passport Applications: Over 32,000 Nigerians Seek Global Escapes Amid Economic Turmoil

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    As economic uncertainties intensify, a surge in passport applications has swept across Nigeria with over 32,000 citizens actively pursuing international passports within a mere two weeks of January.

    This notable 50% spike in applications sheds light on the growing aspiration for greener pastures beyond the nation’s current economic challenges.

    The surge coincides with the recent launch of an automated passport application system, introduced to simplify the application process and combat prevalent corruption.

    Despite its promises, the Comptroller-General of Immigration Service, Caroline Adepoju, revealed that over 11,000 applications are pending approval, and 3,400 applicants who have paid are yet to secure appointments.

    While acknowledging the system’s efficiency in approving 50% of applications, Adepoju also highlighted challenges, noting that a mere 4% were rejected due to applicant errors.

    The new automated system aims to reduce human interface and eliminate the notorious touting and extortion associated with the previous manual processes.

    However, amid the rush for passports, some applicants express skepticism, citing occasional glitches and delays.

    The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) reassures citizens of 24/7 support to address queries and urges patience as the system undergoes refinement.

    This surge for passports is not merely administrative; it echoes a deeper sentiment—the “Japa” phenomenon—a popular term indicating the desire to emigrate in pursuit of opportunities beyond Nigeria’s current struggles.

    While the automated system offers hope for a smoother process, it underscores the pressing need to address the underlying issues driving citizens to seek better prospects abroad.

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

    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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    Minister Leads Nigeria’s Delegation To 121st UN Tourism Executive Council

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    Nigeria has joined 11 other elected African member countries to participate at the 121st session of the United Nations Tourism Executive Council held in Barcelona, Spain.

    According to the Ministry of Tourism statement, the country was represented by the Minister, Lola Ade-John, as the event further ‘reinforces Nigeria’s commitment to advancing global tourism.’

    The Council, which meets biannually, serves as the governing body of UN Tourism. In collaboration with the Secretary-General, the Council is responsible for making pivotal decisions on various aspects of the organization and its initiatives, which are subsequently presented to the General Assembly for ratification.

    The ministry further disclosed that Nigeria’s presence in the Executive Council ‘highlights the nation’s growing influence and dedication to promoting tourism as a key driver of economic growth, cultural exchange, and sustainable development.’

    Remarking, the minister, Lola Ade-John, expressed her gratitude for Nigeria’s role in the Council and reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to contributing to the global tourism agenda.
    “Our participation in the UN Tourism Executive Council is a testament to Nigeria’s vibrant tourism sector and our dedication to fostering international cooperation in tourism. We look forward to working closely with other member states to promote sustainable tourism practices that benefit all,” she said.

    The Nigerian minister further emphasized the country’s ongoing initiatives to enhance its tourism infrastructure, improve visitor experiences, and protect its cultural and natural heritage. Nigeria’s active participation in the UN Tourism Executive Council will further these efforts, providing valuable opportunities for collaboration and knowledge exchange with other leading nations in the tourism sector.

    Continuing, the minister stressed that as the country ’embarks on this new chapter within UN Tourism, it remains committed to leveraging its rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and hospitality to attract tourists from around the world, contributing to the global tourism industry’s growth and sustainability.’

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