Nigerian professionals who live in the United Arab Emirates have embarked on an ongoing online narrative campaign to appeal to the work permit restrictions placed on Nigerian citizens by the UAE.
President of the group, Professional Nigerians in UAE, Kayode Ogungbohun, said this on Channels TV‘s Sunrise Daily on Monday.
Ogungbohun, who led the IamNigerian campaign, speculated in the interview that the restriction may be a response to the unlawful behaviour of some Nigerians resident in the UAE.
He also said it was an avenue for Nigerians to caution one another and to present a positive outlook for Nigeria in the UAE.
The President also urged the UAE to remove all restrictions placed on all job categories in the country.
Ogungbohun explained, “We saw the problem, although we don’t have any official reason why UAE took the decision. We speculated that some things were done by Nigerians in terms of not obeying the law of the host country.
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“So, we came up with the solution to speak to ourselves to be law-abiding, to appeal and pacify the UAE government to allow all categories of jobs to be given to Nigerians. Because these jobs that they are not giving to Nigerians are being given to people of other nationalities.
“The #iamNigerian campaign is aimed to project us positively. Nigerians are now aware that there is a problem in our hands. We have left the stage of denial and realised that there is a problem, and it is everyone’s responsibility to play a role.”
However, Esther Adedokun, a resident of Fujairah in the UAE, has debunked claims that atrocities caused by Nigerians may have led to work permit restrictions.
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Adedokun urged the Nigerian government to resolve the diplomatic row between Nigeria and the UAE.
She also lamented that the work restriction has left her stranded in Dubai.
“My situation is so critical that I have spent all my savings. I don’t want us to have the impression that because of the atrocities committed by some Nigerians, that is why we have this problem. Nigerians are not the only citizens in UAE that commit worse crimes, so are there no restrictions on their work permits on citizens of other countries?
“I am against crime and criminality, but the diplomatic issue if resolved will ease the problem of this restriction,” she said in the interview.
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The PUNCH had earlier reported that the work restrictions were placed on the permit of Nigerians living in Dubai recently. This had resulted in great uncertainty for many Nigerians in the country, as well as others who had planned to migrate to the UAE for better opportunities, and careers.
Many Nigerians who travel to the UAE have become illegal migrants due to their expired and upturned work permits. The new work restrictions have also rendered many Nigerians jobless and homeless due to the abrupt change in diplomatic relations with Nigeria.