The Federal Government of Nigeria has called on the United Kingdom to review and rescind its decision to put the country on the red list following the discovery of the Omicron Virus.
The federal government condemned the decision of the UK government to add Nigeria to its travel red list and ban foreign travels from the country describing it as unjust, unfair, punitive, indefensible, and discriminatory.
The UK joined other countries including Canada to take similar action against Nigeria because of the discovery of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the country.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday the 7th of December in Abuja, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed described the UK’s decision as discriminatory and driven by fear rather than Science.
He added that Nigeria has only recorded less than two of the variants which did not originate from Nigeria, hence the decision is not justifiable and not driven by science.
“How do you slam this kind of discriminatory action on a country of 200 million people, just because of less than two dozen cases? Whereas British citizens and residents are allowed to come in from Nigeria, non-residents from the same country are banned. The two groups are coming from the same country, but are subject to different conditions. Why won’t Britain allow people in both categories to come in, and be subjected to the same conditions of testing and quarantine? This is why this decision to ban travelers from Nigeria, who are neither citizens nor residents, is grossly discriminatory and punitive,” he said.
The Minister said, instead of resorting to travel bans, countries should focus on ensuring vaccine equity rather than take “knee-jerk” reactions against Africa that can be detrimental to the quest to tackle the pandemic.
“Instead of these reflex responses that are driven by fear, rather than science, why can’t the world take a serious look at the issue of access to vaccines, and ensure that it is based on the principles grounded in the right of every human to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health without discrimination based on race, religion, political belief, economic or any other social condition,” Mohammed said.
“Nigeria has handled the Covid-19 pandemic with utmost responsibility and based on science, and has rightly earned global accolades for its efforts. Nigeria does not belong on any country’s red list,” he added.
Story: Ihuoma Ukeje
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