Last month, the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) imposed visa restrictions on Nigerians; according to the new policy, only Nigerians who are 40 years and above can travel to the UAE for business, tourism or any other private visit.
Before now, young Nigerians troop to UAE, particularly Dubai for different purposes.
Some go their to relax; some travel there just because they want to have their previously-unstamped international passports stamped; some travel there for business, among others. It is even not uncommon to find a group of friends fixing Dubai as the destination of their next social gathering.
Our politicians also have choice properties in this Arab state, but with the new immigration policy, only people who are 40 years and above can visit the UAE now, although the authorities gave certain conditions for people who are less than 40 years old who want to visit.
When I first heard of this new policy, I knew Nigerians have ‘spoilt’ this Arab country as well.
In 1988, I was travelling to India and had a stop-over in Dubai; the place was nothing to write home at that time, but now, less than 30 years later, Nigerians of all ages troop to Dubai for different purposes. It is just so unfortunate that while we have regressed, they have progressed.
Why have our leaders chosen to enrich themselves only at the expense of the people?; Why have we failed to develop? Where are all the money we have made selling oil, and yet cannot boast more than $30billion in foreign reserves?
We will continue to be treated with disdain in other parts of the world if we don’t develop our country.
Other countries will never respect us if we cant live in our country, and instead prefer to travel for greener pastures outside.
It is so painful today seeing Nigerians in even less-developed countries ekeing out a living.
I hope we can wake up on time before we experience more foreign insults.
Dr Tajudeen Alalade,
Ilorin, Kwara state