Nigeria makes U-turn, takes ‘diplomatic steps’ to resolve Omicron travel ban by UK, others

The Nigerian government has said it is making efforts to ‘diplomatically’ address the travel restrictions placed on the country by the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Argentina over the discovery of omicron variant of coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.’

Speaking during an emergency briefing by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 on Monday night, the committee’s chairman, Boss Mustapha, hinted of possible resolution of the contradictions within the next week.

He said the committee is working with relevant ministries to address the issues, saying; “While each country is entitled to put in place measures to protect its citizens, Nigeria has similar responsibilities.

However, based on existing relationships, Nigeria has initiated diplomatic steps to make these countries reverse their course. This is ongoing in the interest of all parties concerned and we expect that positive results would emerge within the next one week.”

The new development is contrary to the country’s earlier position pushed by some ministers and members of the national assembly, who had suggested retaliatory actions by the Nigerian government.

Nigeria and some other African nations had been hit with travel bans from western countries since the Omicron variant was first detected in Southern Africa and Hong Kong in November.

The variant has since spread to at least, 57 countries worldwide.

Although Canada was the first to place a travel ban on Nigeria, of more concern is the one imposed later by the UK.

Nigeria became the 11th country to go on the UK’s Red List for international travel over the discovery of Omicron. All nations currently on that list are African in what has been described as “unfair and racists.”



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