In Transient Dubai, Expats Struggle To Find Love

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 14, 2021, a woman looks at a view of the Marina Beach in the Gulf emirate of Dubai.  (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)



In Dubai, known for its luxury haunts and parties, Lindsey knows she has reasons to be happy. But like many young expatriates, she’s sure her quest for a partner will force her to leave.

“Even if I had the best job, I wouldn’t stay,” said the curly-haired 32-year-old French teacher who is keen on starting a family.

“I have friends who have been here for years and all are single,” Lindsey said as she ate sushi just ahead of Valentine’s day on a restaurant terrace at the foot of the sprawling Dubai Mall.

“Even if I’m having fun, have friends and am not alone, I’m wasting my time.”

With little of the oil wealth of its sister emirate Abu Dhabi, Dubai has built its economy with the help of legions of expatriates, who work in sectors including finance, communications, technology and hospitality.

More than 90 percent of the emirate’s 3.3 million population are foreigners.

Many work menial jobs that keep the city humming, but large numbers of Arab, European and American residents form the middle class.

After being in Dubai — one of seven emirates comprising the United Arab Emirates — for two years, Lindsey has resorted to using the popular Tinder dating app.

But she is put off by the frequent ostentatious displays of muscular torsos and luxury cars.

“It’s possible that I won’t find anyone in France either, but I think there’s a greater chance there,” she said of her home nation.

– Have fun and go –
Clinical psychologist Thoraiya Kanafani said that behind the facade of all-day brunches and throbbing nightclubs, many of her clients in Dubai suffer from “a sense of loneliness”.

While other large globalised cities such as New York, London and Paris also present difficulties in establishing lasting relationships, she said that in Dubai — a temporary stop for many — the situation is exacerbated.

“The perception that Dubai tends to be a transitory city plays a big role in people’s unwillingness or difficulty in committing,” Kanafani told AFP, adding that heartache can lead to long-term consequences like depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

Waed, 34, a Palestinian design consultant who has lived in Dubai her whole life, said she has been unsuccessful in finding love after she divorced in 2018.

She got married in 2008, she said, before “trashy expats” started flocking to the emirate and people became obsessed with the superficiality of luxury living.

“Dating in Dubai? If anyone says it’s good, tell them no,” she told AFP, adding that she was able to tolerate Tinder for about four days before dumping it.

“I’m sure you’ll find some people who want to commit, but a lot of them come here for a couple of years to make some money, build a career, have a good time and then leave.”

Many of Waed’s friends have left Dubai and found love in other countries despite a “very good life in DIFC” — a lavish business district full of Instagrammable bars and restaurants.

“One of them has a boyfriend and a dog now, the other one got engaged, and another has met someone,” she said, adding they had opted for men who didn’t aspire to Dubai stereotypes of glamour and success.

“In Dubai you need to look perfect, to live up to standard, to have a nice car, to be able to afford fine dining… to put up a show.”

– ‘We need more’ –
The gay community has also not been spared the difficulties of dating in the Muslim emirate, where authorities tolerate the community so long as it remains discreet.

A handful of bars are known to be gay-friendly and, while dating apps for the LGBTQ community are blocked by the government, they can easily be accessed via VPN.

“Most of the guys I’ve had some kind of relationship with, I met through dating apps,” said one 35-year-old Brazilian expat with a bright smile.

However, he too has trouble finding a long-term relationship.

People “want to be free in case there’s somebody better out there and, as they don’t see themselves living in Dubai long term, they prefer not to commit,” he told AFP.

An executive at a multinational company, he said he will stay in the city “as long as it makes sense for my career” but in the end the search for a partner could see him move on.

“We need more than just our work to feel complete,” he said.

Dubai Limits Entertainment Activity As COVID-19 Cases Surge

Women wearing masks for protection against the coronavirus, walk in the Mall of Dubai on April 28, 2020, after the shopping center was reopened as part of moves in the Gulf emirate to ease lockdown restrictions imposed last month.
(Karim Sahib | AFP)


Dubai clamped down on its entertainment scene Thursday and suspended non-essential surgery in hospitals after a spike in coronavirus cases in the UAE as the glitzy emirate stays open to tourists.

One of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, Dubai has branded itself this winter as an open, sunny and quarantine-free escape.

But Covid-19 infections have surged since the New Year and the UAE registered a daily record of 3,529 new cases on Thursday, a new high for the 10th consecutive day.

“To ensure public health and safety, all entertainment permits issued will be on hold effective immediately,” Dubai Media Office tweeted.

“Dubai Tourism will continue to evaluate the progress with the health authorities.”

It said more than 200 cases of non-compliance with coronavirus guidelines had been recorded and around 20 establishments closed in the past three weeks.

Authorities have also instructed hospitals to suspend all non-essential surgery until February 19.

While mask-wearing and social distancing have been in force, restaurants, hotels and mega-malls have remained open in tourism-reliant Dubai.

Businesses contacted by AFP on Thursday said they will continue to serve customers but without live entertainment such as disc jockeys and dancers.

According to Emirati health officials, the UAE has already inoculated over two million of its approximately 10 million population.

Dubai reopened its doors for tourism in July last year.

Posts of sports and media celebrities at Dubai’s multitude of beach clubs and cocktail bars have flooded social media over Christmas and New Year.

Fellow emirate Abu Dhabi, which has large oil reserves and so is less dependent on tourism, has taken a more conservative approach, generally requiring quarantine on arrival.

But tourists can freely enter Dubai with a negative PCR test in their home countries — and possibly another upon arrival, depending on the place of departure.

Its airline Emirates offers free travel insurance with every ticket purchased, including hospitalisation and repatriation costs for coronavirus.

Tourism has long been an economic mainstay of Dubai, which welcomed more than 16 million visitors in 2019 before the pandemic struck.

The UAE has recorded a total of more than 263,000 cases, including 762 deaths.

Britain has dropped the UAE from its “travel corridor” list of quarantine-exempted countries because of its rising cases.

Escaping COVID-19 Lockdowns, Tourists Flock To Dubai

Israeli tourists, mask-clad due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, visit al-Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood of Dubai on January 11, 2021.


As much of the world tightens lockdowns to stem coronavirus, Dubai has flung its doors open, branding itself as a sunny, quarantine-free escape — despite a sharp rise in cases.

While mask-wearing and social distancing are strictly enforced, life in the tourism-reliant emirate looks much like normal, with its restaurants, hotels and mega-malls open for business.

Images of sports stars and television personalities enjoying life at beach clubs and cocktail bars have flooded social media — sometimes to disapproval back home.

Emirates, which restored its network to about three quarters of pre-pandemic levels, is again operating A380 super-jumbos – the world’s largest commercial airliner — ferrying in visitors from Britain and Russia.

Russian tourist, Dmitriy Melnikov, said he came to Dubai because his choices were otherwise limited, with many destinations in partial or full lockdown.

“I am not scared,” the 30-year-old told AFP. “If you look at people here, everyone has a mask, and I think it’s cool.”

But the downside to becoming one of the world’s most open destinations has been a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

Daily detected cases hover in the mid-3,000s across the United Arab Emirates, which has a population of under 10 million, with 745 deaths from Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

“There are significant risks in Dubai remaining so open,” said Scott Livermore, chief economist at Oxford Economics Middle East.

“A renewed outbreak of Covid-19 would set the recovery back quite some way.”


– ‘Willing to take the risk’ –

With a negative PCR test in their home countries — and possibly another upon arrival, depending on the place of departure — tourists can freely enter Dubai, where winter temperatures average a pleasant 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit).

The neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi, which with large oil reserves is less dependent on tourism, has taken a much more conservative approach, generally requiring quarantine on arrival.

In the Al Fahidi historical neighbourhood in Dubai, mask-clad tourists walk through alleyways, taking pictures of the recreation of life a century ago.

Hand sanitisers and floor stickers warning people to maintain their distance are everywhere, while most restaurants have replaced their menus with digital QR barcodes, that can be displayed on a smartphone.

“Before the coronavirus, tour groups were up to 100 or 250 visitors with each tour guide, but now things are different, only 20 visitors maximum for each tour guide,” said the district’s director Nasser Juma bin Sulaiman.

Andi Pitman, from the US state of Alabama, said it was her first trip abroad since the start of the pandemic.

“We are very excited to be here and a little nervous, but happy to be out again,” she told AFP, strolling through Al-Fahidi with her husband and two children.

“None of us have had the vaccine yet, but we have small kids that need to be out and need to see the world, so we’re willing to take the risk.”

Sophia Amouch, from France, said she was not too concerned about the rise in cases in the UAE.

“Everything is run better here,” the 25-year-old told AFP, adding that she felt “safer in Dubai, where everyone abides by all the measures.”

– ‘Growth strategy’ –

Tourism has long been an economic mainstay of Dubai, which welcomed more than 16 million visitors in 2019.

Before the pandemic, the aim was to reach 20 million by 2020. The economy — the most diversified in the Gulf — was decimated by the crisis.

The government was counting on the six-month Dubai Expo 2020 global trade fair — delayed by a year and now set to open in October — to attract millions of visitors and boost the economy.

Now it is seeking to find what benefits it can from the crisis.

“Dubai seems to be positioning itself as the destination of choice for those wanting to escape lockdown conditions and have a winter break, especially given ski resorts in Europe are largely closed,” said Livermore.

“This is a growth strategy in its own right, but the more successful Dubai can be in achieving this aim, the more benefits will spill over for when Expo opens.”

Ahead of the Expo, authorities are mounting a huge vaccination campaign, which has seen 14 percent of the population inoculated.

“Travel and tourism is very important to Dubai,” Livermore said. “The sector is crucial for generating a sustainable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is essential the city remains open and connected, but critically keeps Covid-19 in check.”


Dubai Cuts 2021 Budget As Pandemic Impacts Economy

A picture taken on March 28, 2020 shows a deserted street in the Emirate city of Dubai amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. KARIM SAHIB / AFP


Dubai said Sunday it expects to cut its budget to $15.5 billion in 2021 after its economy was impacted by a plunge in tourism and other sectors amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The emirate, one of the seven that make up the United Arab Emirates, had posted a record $18.1 billion budget for 2020.

“The newly-announced budget takes into account the exceptional economic conditions of the fiscal year 2020 and the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy,” said a statement by the Dubai Media Office.

Dubai foresees a deficit for the fifth year in a row, of $1.3 billion in 2021. In 2019, it had forecast a $700 million deficit for this year.

The emirate, which depends heavily on tourism and retail services, closed its border for several months due to the pandemic, resulting in a 10.8 percent GDP plunge in the first half of the year.

According to government estimates published earlier this week, the economy will likely contract 6.2 percent this year but is expected to see four percent growth in 2021.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: EU Begins Vaccinations To End Pandemic

The new budget “confirms Dubai’s ability to deal with the crisis, restore the pace of economic growth, strengthen social benefits and essential services,” the media office said.

The government was counting on the six-month Dubai Expo 2020 global trade fair — which was scheduled for October but postponed by one year — to attract millions of visitors.

Tourism has long been an economic mainstay of Dubai, which welcomed more than 16 million visitors last year. Before the pandemic, the aim was to reach 20 million this year.

Dubai is renowned for its skyscrapers, including the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, but its key property sector has been hit since 2014 by lower oil prices.


UAE To Grant Infectious Disease Experts, Others ‘Golden’ 10-Year Residence Visa

A picture taken on January 8, 2018 shows the skyline of Dubai with the Burj al-Arab in the foreground and Burj Khalifa (L) in the background.


The United Arab Emirates said on Sunday it will grant all doctors and infectious disease experts living in the country a 10-year visa, who are helping to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Foreigners in the UAE, like most Gulf countries, are generally only given limited residence visas tied to their current employment, and long-term residency is difficult to obtain.

But to attract wealthy business people and highly skilled workers, the UAE last year launched the “Golden” 10-year visa programme, which is now being expanded.

Those eligible include holders of doctorate degrees, medical doctors, and computer, electronics, programming, electrical and biotechnology engineers, tweeted Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

READ ALSO: SpaceX Launches Four Astronauts To ISS

“We are keen to embrace talent that drives future development and this is only the beginning,” said Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the ruler of Dubai, which has the most diversified economy in the Gulf.

Students from accredited universities who are getting top grades could also qualify, he said, along with those holding specialised degrees in artificial intelligence, big data and epidemiology.

The scheme last year drew in some 6,800 investors, in a windfall worth $27 billion for the economy.

Foreigners account for 90 per cent of the population of some 10 million in the oil-rich UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy.

The country has so far recorded more than 150,000 cases of the coronavirus, including 530 deaths.

A months-long lockdown and the impact on tourism and business has done serious damage to the economy, which was already slumping in recent years due to low oil prices.

The “Golden Visa” was the first such scheme in the Gulf, which keeps tight control on residency.

Similar programmes have been launched in other countries that seek to diversify their economies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Riyadh said in June 2019 that it will offer permanent residency for 800,000 riyals ($213,000) and a one-year renewable residency costing 100,000 riyals ($27,000), allowing expats to do business and buy property without a Saudi sponsor.

Meanwhile, Doha has recently flung open its property market to foreigners, with a scheme giving those purchasing homes or stores the right to longer-term or permanent residency permits.


Dubai Introduces Facial Recognition On Public Transport

A handout image provided by United Arab Emirates News Agency (WAM) shows Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (L) during the opening of the smart simulation training station in the Gulf emirate, on October 25, 2020.


Dubai is introducing a facial recognition system on public transport to beef up security, officials said Sunday, as the emirate prepares to host the global Expo exhibition.

“This technology has proven its effectiveness to identify suspicious and wanted people,” said Obaid al-Hathboor, director of Dubai’s Transport Security Department.

The emirate already operates a biometric system using facial recognition at its international airport.

Dubai, which sees itself as a leading “smart city” in the Middle East, has ambitions to become a hub for technology and artificial intelligence.

Both sectors will be on show when it opens the multi-billion-dollar Expo fair.

“We aspire to raise our performance by building on our current capabilities, to ensure a high level of security in metro stations and other transport sectors,” said Hathboor.

Earlier this week, under the watch of Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the city’s police used facial recognition in a simulated scenario to identify gunmen launching an attack on a metro station.

A special police unit, trained in the United States, helped “evacuate” commuters from the station in the mock attack, before working in tandem with a control centre to apprehend the suspects.

Members of the special unit will be sent to major metro stations during Expo 2020.

The six-month event was delayed by one year due to coronavirus, and is now set to open in October 2021.

It was expected to attract 15 million visitors before the global economy and transport systems were disrupted by the pandemic.

Jamal Rashed, of Dubai Police’s Transport Security Department, said the facial recognition technology will be rolled out in the coming months in all metro stations.

Other technology already in use to combat the spread of the coronavirus, such as helmets with thermal cameras and smart glasses, will also be used to identify and manage large crowds.

“It took at least five hours to identify a suspect before,” said Rashed. “With this technology, it takes less than a minute.”

But while the technology to identify individuals has simplified lives, such as being used for unlocking phones, it has also raised concerns over privacy.

Berlin-based advocacy group AlgorithmWatch says that at least 10 European police forces use facial recognition technology — a trend that privacy and rights groups are concerned about.

China has also been criticised for the facial recognition systems in its public surveillance network.


Dubai Gets Ready To Go Kosher After Israel Peace Deal

A picture taken on January 8, 2018 shows the skyline of Dubai with the Burj al-Arab in the foreground and Burj Khalifa (L) in the background.


At the plush Armani hotel in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, a rabbi switches on the stoves at what is billed as Dubai’s first kosher restaurant.

With the ink still fresh on the United Arab Emirates’ landmark normalisation accord with Israel, restaurants and caterers are rushing to prepare for what they hope will be a flood of Jewish visitors arriving on new direct flights.

The city-state welcomed more than 16 million visitors in 2019 and expected to reach a record 20 million this year, although that was before the coronavirus hit.

It reopened its doors to tourists again in July after a painful four-month shutdown, but business is slow.

Under the normalisation deal, the Emirates and Israel will establish air links — likely to begin in January — and a visa regime that will allow residents to travel for business and pleasure.

But before then, businesses hoping to cash in on the new market must overcome challenges including building kosher kitchens, training staff and sourcing appropriate foodstuffs.

“We have been training our staff for months,” said Fabien Fayolle, the chef at the upscale 40-seat Armani/Kaf, one of a cluster of restaurants in the luxury hotel.

“In this kitchen we teach them what they can use and what they can’t do.”

“The idea for us to open this restaurant is to be able to provide a five-star experience to Jewish people or anyone who wants to try kosher food. It didn’t make any sense to make ‘home cooked’ food. We wanted to give more of an experience,” he told AFP.

Until local suppliers begin servicing the new market in the UAE though, “our main challenge will be obtaining the ingredients,” he said of the lavishly priced international menu which includes items adapted to make them compatible with kosher rules.

– Hi-tech kosher –
As well as requiring a Jewish person to switch on the cooking stoves and supervise a restaurant kitchen, the rules governing kosher food prohibit consumption of meat from certain animals and sea creatures, as well as the mixing of meat and dairy products.

Much like halal rules for Muslims, animals must be slaughtered in a prescribed way.

Rabbi Levi Duchman, who certified the Armani/Kaf, said he has received requests from “dozens of restaurants in the Emirates that want to offer kosher dishes”.

At the Dubai restaurant, the stoves can be turned on by a rabbi remotely using a mobile application, and the cooking monitored by cameras.

Duchman said the halal tradition, which governs the Muslim diet and shares rules with the kosher approach, including a ban on eating pork, made it “easier to explain the rules of kosher in the Emirates”.

– Long way to go –
Elli Kriel is the pioneer of kosher cuisine in the Emirates, after moving to Dubai eight years ago from South Africa and realising she needed to find kosher products for her home kitchen.

She has been running Elli’s Kosher Kitchen for the past two years, born out of the need for Jewish travellers to remain observant while in the UAE.

Her business got underway in November 2018 when she was asked to provide meals for rabbis attending an interfaith meeting in the capital Abu Dhabi.

“From there, word spread and I started getting more and more requests,” she said.

“The challenge of running a kosher kitchen in the UAE is that.. there is high demand” following the normalisation agreement. “But the industry is not really set up for that — it is really hard to get a lot of products, especially the meats and the cheeses,” she said.

However, import channels are now being established, Kriel added.

“And in terms of actually opening a kitchen, you can open one but then you need to have a rabbi with you and there aren’t many here, so we had to bring one in for this specific task,” she said of the rabbi who supervises her kitchen full-time.

While the speed of the rapprochement between the two countries caught everyone by surprise, entrepreneurs have been quick to start filling the space.

Just two days after the signing of the accord in Washington, Dubai-based Emirates Airlines unveiled plans to produce kosher meals in collaboration with a company owned by Ross Kriel — Elli’s husband who is one of the leaders of the Jewish community in the UAE.

The Middle East’s largest airline previously used suppliers in Thailand for kosher meals on its international flights.

From the new year it will produce them at a dedicated facility in the UAE, expected to be operating in time for the inauguration of direct flights.

Aisha Buhari Returns From UAE Medical Trip, Advocates Improved Healthcare Services

This picture, released on August 22, 2020, shows the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, arriving the country from Dubai.
This picture, released on August 22, 2020, shows the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, arriving the country from Dubai.


Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari, on Saturday announced her return from medical treatment in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while calling for healthcare providers to improve the capacity of the country’s health sector and reduce foreign medical trips.

In a statement signed by her and obtained by Channels Television, the First Lady said healthcare providers should take advantage of the Federal Government’s N100bn credit support for the health sector in order to ramp up capacity.

Channels Television had earlier reported Mrs. Buhari’s exit from the country on August 8, although her office did not confirm the news at the time.

Officials of the Nigerian Airforce pose with First Lady, Aisha Buhari, in this photo released on August 22, 2020.
Officials of the Nigerian Airforce pose with First Lady, Aisha Buhari, in this photo released on August 22, 2020.


In her Saturday statement, Mrs Buhari thanked Nigerians for their prayers and well-wishes and also extended gratitude to the men and women of the Nigerian Airforce who facilitated her journey back to Nigeria.



I want to use this opportunity to thank all Nigerians for their prayers and well wishes while I was away for medical treatment in the United Arabs Emirates (UAE). I am well now and fully recovered and had since returned back home, Nigeria.

On our way back, the Nigerian Airforce Flight encountered a violent clear air turbulence which was navigated safely and professionally by the Captain and crew of the Flight.

I want to commend and appreciate the courage and professionalism of the Captain and his crew, the wonderful gallant service men and women of the entire Nigerian Airforce for their dedication to duty and the quality of maintainance of its Fleet.

I recall hosting the private healthcare Providers earlier in the year and we had a very productive engagement where the issue of building the capacity of Nigeria health sector was the major focus, and funding was discovered to be the major challenge.

I therefore call on the healthcare providers to take the advantage of the Federal Government’s initiative through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guidelines for the operation of NGN100 Billion Credit Support for the Healthcare Sector as was released recently contained in a circular dated March 25, 2020 to the Commercial Banks. This will no doubt help in building and expanding the capacity of the Nigerian health sector and ultimately reduce medical trips and tourism outside the Country.

Once again, I thank our frontline workers, and all Nigerians for their steadfast as we navigate the challenges facing the entire world.

Aisha Muhammadu Buhari
First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria
August 22, 2020

Dubai Ruler Sends Medical Supplies To Nigeria

This picture, released by the Dubai Media Office on August 15, 2020, shows cargo being loaded into a plane apparently headed for Nigeria and Sudan.
This picture, released by the Dubai Media Office on August 15, 2020, shows cargo being loaded into a plane apparently headed for Nigeria and Sudan.


The Ruler of Dubai has ordered 14 tonnes of medical supplies and 20 tonnes of food supplies to Nigeria and Sudan, the Dubai Media Office said on Saturday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum “orders humanitarian aid flight to Sudan and Nigeria carrying 14 tonnes of medical supplies, 20 tonnes of food supplies,” the press office said in a tweet.

The Nigerian government is yet to confirm the reception of the supplies or the date it is expected in the country.


The supplies, a statement on the Ruler’s website noted, was to help Nigeria fight the pandemic.

On August 11, the United States Government also handed over 200 modern ventilators to the Nigerian government to aid the latter’s fight against the pandemic.

Meanwhile, 170 Nigerians returned from the United Arab Emirates to Nigeria on Saturday, taking the number of evacuees from the Arab nation to over 3,000 amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM).



170 Stranded Nigerians Return From Dubai

The aircraft conveying the stranded Nigerians from Dubai. Credit: NIDCOM


One hundred and seventy Nigerians have returned from Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, taking the number of evacuees from the Arab nation to over 3,000.

The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) disclosed this in a tweet via its official handle on Friday.

It explained that the evacuees arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on board the Fly Dubai airlines.

According to the agency, the returnees who arrived on Friday night came on board one of three free flights offered by the UAE government.

The UAE government offered the gesture to Nigerians whose documentation expired since March 1 and were given till August 17 to leave the country.

All evacuees tested negative to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are now on a mandatory 14-day self-isolation as part of the guidelines stipulated by the Presidential Task Force.

This development comes three days after 292 more Nigerians were evacuated from the UAE.

On Thursday, NIDCOM said 175 Nigerians returned from Uganda.

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As at June 2020, the Federal Government said it had spent N169 million on the evacuation of Nigerians from overseas.

During a briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 on April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, had directed all Nigerians interested in returning to the country to work with Nigeria’s embassies and high commissions where they are.

“What is important to get out to all Nigerians is that their engagement and communication should be with the embassies, high commissions and not with any other parallel agency, department of government or anything like that.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted regular daily activities in several countries across the world, leaving millions of people stranded in foreign nations.

Against the backdrop of the outbreak, many countries initiated the process of evacuating their citizens back home.

Nigeria is not left out as the Federal Government has facilitated the repatriation of thousands of its citizens stranded abroad.

Among the nations where Nigerians have been brought back home include the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Sudan, France, Ethiopia, and several others.

Stranded Nigerian Woman Delivered Of Quadruplets In Dubai Calls For Help



COVID-19 induced restrictions on air travel between Nigeria and Dubai has resulted in financial woes for a young Nigerian mother, whose plan to return home before the birth of her children, has failed.

Suliyat Tijani, a 29-year-old indigene of Oyo State, had relocated to Dubai in 2017 to be with her Chef husband, Shakiru.

Life for them had been good enough until they found out their first pregnancy would bring a set of quadruplets.

Mother of Quadruplets, Suliyat Tijani.


“When my wife told me she was pregnant, and she went for a scan, I told her she was joking,” Shakiru said to Channels Television.

“I never thought of having four babies, because there’s no money,” the new mother also said.

Delivering the babies in Dubai was not an option they could afford and so they made plans for her to return to Nigeria.

However, COVID-19 restrictions on air travel between Nigeria and Dubai did not make that trip possible in time.

Read Also: Katsina Explosion: Five Children Killed By Military Grenade – Police

Suliyat delivered the babies on July 1, two days before her planned return to Nigeria.


One of the quadruplets which Suliyat Tijani gave birth to in Dubai.


The couple now face hospital bills of over 30 million naira after she went into labour and delivered the set of quadruplets.

Her husband, Shakiru, who works as a chef in the city, is calling on well-meaning individuals for assistance as his salary has been slashed in half and he has no medical insurance cover for his wife or children.

Meanwhile, a support group has offered to assist the family with 5,000 dirhams even as the young couple still seek more support.


The young couple.

Dubai Holds First ‘Real Life’ Conference After COVID-19 Shutdown

The image of Emirati businessman Mohamed Alabba is projected on large screens as he speaks at the first "real life" conference in the Gulf city of Dubai, on July 16, 2020, since the coronavirus protective restrictions were put in place in March. KARIM SAHIB / AFP
The image of Emirati businessman Mohamed Alabba is projected on large screens as he speaks at the first “real life” conference in the Gulf city of Dubai, on July 16, 2020, since the coronavirus protective restrictions were put in place in March. KARIM SAHIB / AFP


“Don’t touch the screen!” warned an organiser as participants attempted to print their badges, via barcodes sent to their phones, at Dubai’s first “real life” business conference since the coronavirus shutdown hit in March.

The glitzy emirate hosts dozens of conventions every year, from political events to technology and lifestyle forums, but for months the virus forced the lucrative sector to move from conference halls to computer screens.

Now, 10 days after reopening its doors to tourists, the city that received more than 16.7 million visitors last year has also restarted its conference business, with an event focusing on the artificial intelligence industry.

In a vast hall at the city’s World Trade Centre, until recently converted into a field hospital for coronavirus patients, it was a full house on Thursday as hundreds of attendees at the AI Everything conference occupied rows of chairs spaced far apart under social distancing guidelines.

Dubai's Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum (C) attends the first "real life" conference in the Gulf city on July 16, 2020, since the coronavirus protective restrictions were put in place in March. KARIM SAHIB / AFP
Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum (C) attends the first “real life” conference in the Gulf city on July 16, 2020, since the coronavirus protective restrictions were put in place in March. KARIM SAHIB / AFP


Others were outside the hall, listening to the event on screens as they waited for someone to leave their seat so they could enter.

“It’s good to be here, face to face with others,” said Reem Al Hashimi, minister of state for international cooperation, in one of the opening sessions.

“What this pandemic has taught us is that we need to be conscious and careful, but we also need to live our lives, so finding that healthy proper scientific balance is critical.”

The four-hour event looked very different from what the glittering city used to offer pre-COVID — with no crowded foyers or waiters bearing trays of drinks, and packaged energy bars and fruit replacing gourmet buffets.

A badge printing station was set up next to the hall entrance, with organisers in face shields and black suits advising attendees on how to get their credentials without touching anything.

Colourful signs on the floor adorned with smiley faces reminded participants to “keep a safe distance” and told them “don’t forget your mask”.

Dubai is betting that pent-up demand for tourism, and a quick adaptation to life under COVID-19, will see its tourism industry bounce back quickly after the painful shutdown, billing itself as a safe destination with the resources to ward off the virus.

The reopening comes even as the United Arab Emirates, made up of seven sheikhdoms including Dubai, battles coronavirus infection rates that have climbed to more than 55,800 with 335 deaths.

However, the field hospital at the World Trade Centre discharged its last patient on July 8 and closed its doors before turning the wards back into event halls bearing the slogan “Restart Dubai”.