Nigeria has urged the British government to reverse its decision to put the country on the blacklist because of the latest Omicron variant.
During a press conference on Monday in Abuja, the country’s Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made this call.
According to Mohammed, the British government’s decision to place Nigeria on the red list based on a few dozen cases of Omicron is unjust, harsh, punishing, unjustifiable, and discriminatory, and is not based on science.
“We truly hope that the British government would review and reverse its decision to place Nigeria on the red list as soon as possible.” Nigeria has managed the Covid-19 pandemic with utmost responsibility and on the basis of science, and it has deservedly received international praise for its efforts. Nigeria has no right to be on any country’s blacklist.
How do you condemn such unfair action against a country of 200 million people based on a few dozen cases of Omicron variant? Nigerian citizens and residents are allowed to enter the UK, while non-residents of the same country are not.
The two groups are from the same country, yet they are living in very different circumstances. Why won’t Britain allow people from both groups to enter and be exposed to the same testing and quarantine procedures? As a result, the decision to exclude tourists from Nigeria who are neither citizens nor residents is both discriminatory and punishing,” he explained.
According to the Minister, the type of travel ban imposed on some African countries is a knee-jerk reaction that will only hurt the effort to end the pandemic once and for all.
He went on to say that instead of reflex responses based on fear rather than science, world leaders should focus their attention on the issue of vaccine access. He reiterated that world leaders should ensure that it is based on values rooted in every human’s access to the best achievable standard of health care, free of discrimination based on race, religion, political belief, economic status, or any other social condition.
“Some of these countries purchased vaccines in quantities five times the size of their population, while others, mostly in Africa, had little or no access to vaccines.” Instead of taking the easy route of travel prohibitions, which the UN Secretary-General has dubbed “Travel Apartheid,” this is the true issue to address. Make it clear to the rest of the world that no one is safe until everyone is protected.”
Notably, the United Kingdom (UK) has said travelers from Nigeria would not be permitted to enter the United Kingdom beginning from Monday as a result of the growing concerns over an outbreak of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
The UK health minister, Sajid Javid, said: “In light of the most recent data we are taking further action to slow the incursion of the Omicron variant.