Dubai Visa Ban: CBN Governor Breaks Silence, Accuses UAE Of Blackmailing

By Damilare Adeleye

The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has accused authorities of United Arab Emirates of blackmailing Nigeria due to the funds of airlines trapped in the country.

Mr Emefiele made this disclosure during an interactive session organized by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

He said the CBN released $110 million to the foreign airlines in August and is due to release another $120 million on 31st of October.

Recall that the UAE country has reportedly stopped issuing visas to Nigerians in the past couple of weeks.

In reaction to the development, the apex bank governor said Nigeria has over the years prioritized the foreign airlines in allocation of Fx, adding that instead of bearing with the country, some countries are threatening to ban Nigerians.

“You will be saying either you are cancelling your visa to Nigerians or that you will not fly again because your funds are blocked.

“We used our discretion to allocate $265 million dollars to the foreign airlines, broken down into spot and forward. We did $110 million on the spot and the rest in 60days forward.

“On that day, we allocated to IATA $32 million through UBA. Qatar Airways, $22.8 million through Standard Chartered, Emirates, $19.6 million through Access Bank, British Airway; $5.5million through GTB, Virgin Atlantic, $4.8 million through Zenith and others,” he said.

Meanwhile, Boma Goodhead, a lawmaker from Rivers State, said Nigerians should not be fret over the visa ban, stating that the UAE benefits more from Nigeria.

The lawmaker stated that if the UAE is allowed to stay for one year without tourists from Nigeria, its decision would be reconsidered and changed.

However, Paulos Legesse, Emirates Manager for Nigeria, said the airline is not familiar with the visa ban, adding that the country will suspend its operation in Nigeria on October 28 over the inability of the country to retrieve its funds.