We Are Starving Here,’ Nigerians In UAE Lament Work Permit Restrictions
It’s been a tough period for many Nigerians living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), especially those in Dubai, as they lament the loss of jobs and difficulty in obtaining a work permit.
Bisi Kazeem, one of the affected Nigerians, believes authorities in the Middle East country are punishing them for the sins of a few.
“As far as I’m concerned, I can only say maybe it is one out of 10, or 10 out of 100 Nigerians that are doing the bad things,” he said. “Every other person is facing his/her job.”
She continued: “It has not been easy at all. I have been feeding from hand to mouth. Even as I speak, in the next two to three days, the rent here will expire. I don’t even know how I am going to pay the owner.”
Reports of a ban on work permits for Nigerians living in the UAE first surfaced over two months ago.
A screengrab of a message sent to one of the Nigerians whose application for a work permit was denied.
Since then, hundreds of legitimate workers have lost their jobs, or have been unable to secure new employment. The effect, for most, has been devastating.
“We are starving here,” Azeez Akogun, a technician, said. “We are facing a lot of stress. A lot of people are being frustrated; I am being frustrated. Every day, being at home without any income; so, it’s kind of crazy.”
“I never had any issue with my company,” said Olabanji Folorunsho who is still in shock after he was relieved of his security job. “Not a single warning letter from my company.”
Officials at the Nigerian Embassy in the UAE say they are doing everything in their power to resolve the issue, but the question the victims are asking is for how long?
“I am begging them (UAE authorities) to lift the ban so I can continue my job,” a disturbed Kazeem pleaded. “They should just pity we the innocent ones so that in the nearest future, one will not become a destitute or a nuisance in the land of UAE.”