Nigeria has joined the rest of African countries to reject the idea of imposing vaccine passports on air travellers, stating that it amounts to discrimination.
Speaking in a programme monitored virtually by LEADERSHIP, the minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika said the proposal is against the intent of the Chicago convention on the need to preserve friendship and understanding, reduce the threat to general security and establish international air transport based on equal opportunity, operated soundly and economically.
Speaking during a presentation at the ongoing International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) high-level conference on COVID-19, Sirika, who spoke for Africa said rather than imposing vaccine passports, states that are parties to the convention on international civil aviation should continue to minimise the risks during travel by ensuring compliance with existing multinational treaties, international frameworks, guidelines and recommendations.
The minister also recommended that human rights, regional/continental/global health security, economic growth, social cohesion and good international relations as well as use of innovation and technology worldwide to harmonise requirements should be promoted, while transmission of critical information across borders related to public health issues such as COVID-19 and coordination among key players should also be considered.
He also stated that African nations frowned at states imposing unilateral measures of global nature related to public health and asked such states to refrain from such practices and instead, take measures that would facilitate the reopening and reconnection of the world.
The minister also said two continental joint meetings of African ministers responsible for health, ICT and transport have been so far organised, with the second joint meeting rolling out the African campaign against COVID-19: Saving Lives, Economies and Livelihoods endorsed on 20 August 2020 by the Bureau of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of States and Government with chairpersons of the regional economic communities of the African Union.
The meetings, according to him, charged African countries to work together towards harmonising travel entry and exit requirements, and to increase mutual recognition and cross-border information exchange for enhanced surveillance.