It is no more news that for some months, Nigerians can not travel to Dubai directly from Nigeria. This because of the issues between Emirate Airline, the Nigerian and the UAE government.
In the last few months, travelling to Dubai from Nigeria which used to be very easy has all of a sudden become a nightmare. To go on this trip, you will have to go through other countries and one of the easiest being Ghana and the Republic of Benin. This is because the two countries are our closest neighbours.
I have read several stories about different issues people have had in the Republic of Benin and Ghana. One of the popular stories was shared by Derende here https://www.nairaland.com/6544747/30-days-sojourn-through-cotonou
Sometimes this month, A client contacted me to help him process a three months Dubai visa and also to plan his itinerary to Dubai via Benin republic. I processed the Dubai visa, booked the flight, then we headed straight to the Republic of Benin.
To cut a long story short, on his travel date, we got to Cotonou Cadjehoun Airport. The Benin Airport is less rowdy, less congested and looking well maintained. That was when I got the shocks of my life. Firstly, the majority of the people going to Dubai from the Cotonou Cadjehoun Airport were Nigerians.
As we were driving into the car park, I realize most of the people doing bureau de change are Nigerians. We changed some money and headed straight to the departure.
I met lots of Nigerians at the waiting area. You will almost think it is another branch of Murtala Muhammed International airport located in Lagos. Then the worst happened, as we were heading in, we saw 4 Nigerians coming out, at first I thought they were coming back. Only to get to the queue and we were told they were denied boarding. I got more curious, on further investigation, I later got to know that they backdated the date they got in, not knowing that The republic of Benin had changed their stamp. Unfortunate for them, they backdated with the new stamp.
While at the Airport, I also saw another Nigerian who was arrested at the airport because he was trying to board with a fake visa. I can not believe someone would try to do that. I think the person he paid gave him a fake visa. He got locked up for some days. This is really painful.
Then the last set of Nigerians that were rejected either have damaged passports or International passport with a picture that is not clear. The last sets of Nigerians that got denied were people who got late to the checking point.
Here are the major reasons why you could get denied boarding at the Cotonou Airport.
Reasons Why People Were Rejected
- Damaged passport: Any passport with stains, a picture that is not clear, damaged on any part of the data page is automatic rejection. Please avoid any form of damage to your passport. Most of the people were travelling with the same passport in Nigeria without any issue. Someone said they are doing it to frustrate Nigerians. LOL this I cant verify yet.
- Fake visa: Please always try to confirm the validity of your passport.
- Fake stamp: Please ensure you always stamp at the border, do not pay touts to stamp for you.
- Backdated stamp: YOu are supposed to spend 2 weeks minimum at the Cotonou Airport before you are allowed to travel.
- Expired covid 19 test: Please ensure you do your Covid 19 test on time so you can get the result on time.
Things to note when visiting Dubai through the Republic of Benin
1. you must spend a minimum of 2 weeks in the Republic of Benin
2. To be on the safe side, Make sure you stamp in Seme border rather than Idiroko border, I heard so many people are having issues at Idiroko when they arrive in Dubai.
3. Confirm your Visa validity online.
4. Get to the airport at least three hours before your flight
5. Do a VIP covid 19 test. You will get your result the same day.
6. If you can get an agent that is familiar with the route to help you out. It will save you lots of money in the long run.
7. Stay in a hotel that is not far from the airport
8. Get familiar with the terrain and an English speaking cab driver. It will save you lots of headache.
Please ensure you follow all Covid 19 protocols, please try to do the right thing because once you are caught they will ensure you face the law. Have you had a similar experience? Please share below.