Federal Government on Monday asked the UK to lift the ban on the Omicron variant COVID-19 imposed on Nigerian travelers, saying that adding the country to the Red List is “unjust and unfair And divided”, untenable and discriminatory. .
Addressing a press conference in his office in Abuja,
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed,
wondered why residents who travel to Britain will be
allowed into the country to quarantine and test while
Nigerians are not allowed the same treatment.
He said it is wrong to impose such punishment on a
population of 200 million people because of a few cases
of Omicron variant that did not originate in the country.
While leaving the decision on whether to respond in kind
to the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on
COVID-19, Mohammed described the ban on African
countries as a knee-jerk reaction which is capable of
affecting the efforts to control the virus on the continent.
He said rather than ban countries, developed world should
look critically into the issue of vaccine equity, noting that
“unless everyone is safe no one is safe.”
The minister added, “As you are aware, Britain has put
Nigeria on its red list and banned foreign travels from our
country. This is as a result of the discovery of COVID-19
cases, Omicron variant, in Nigeria. Britain now joins other
countries, including Canada, that have taken a similar
action against Nigeria over Omicron.
“Let me say straight away that it’s up to the PSC to
respond to this action by the British government and
others, and I have no doubt that the committee will
“However, as the spokesman for the Federal Government,
I can say, without mincing words, that the decision by the
British government to put Nigeria on the red list just
because of less than two dozen cases of Omicron which,
by the way did not originate in Nigeria, is unjust, unfair,
punitive, indefensible and discriminatory. The decision is
also not driven by science.
On the recent visit of South African delegation led by
President Cyril Ramaphosa to Nigeria despite South
African having just confirmed the Omicron variant in the
country, Mohammed said the visit was not stopped
because the Federal Government did not want to act in
hysteria and panic.
He said cancelling the South African delegation would
have lent credence to Britain’s action on Nigeria.