The federal government of Nigeria is yet to ban travelers from the United Kingdom (UK), United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Canada after the countries banned flights from Nigeria as a result of Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Recall that there were media reports that the federal government was going to retaliate the ban from the three countries.
The report had quoted the minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, as saying that the decision to ban these countries in retaliation would be made by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 latest by Tuesday.
However, while speaking at the Presidential Steering Committee briefing on Monday, the minister said “The PSC is working with mandate ministries to address the issues surrounding the restriction imposed by some countries on travelers from Nigeria on account of the omicron variant. 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 on-going in the interest of all parties concerned and we expect that positive results would emerge within the next one week.
“The PSC also evaluated the developments on the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE and we are pleased to inform you that the position of the federal government is in line with established ICAO protocols and the spirit of the BASA signed with the UAE. Our sovereignty remains paramount and mutual respects shall be our guiding principle in as much as it should be in the best interest of Nigeria.
“The PSC will at its next regular briefing on Monday, December 20, 2021 brief you fully on developments.”
Part of the media report had quoted the minister of Aviation as saying that “there is a case of Saudi Arabia, which put Nigeria on the banned list – no visa, no travel, et Cetra. So also Canada. So, today (Saturday) there was a meeting, I participated in a zoom meeting, COVID-19 task force, just for your information also.
“We have given our input in aviation, it is not acceptable by us and we recommend that those countries be also put on red list, as they did similarly to us.
“If they don’t allow our citizens to go into their countries who are their airlines coming to pick from our country?
“So, I am very sure that in the next few days, between now and Monday, or perhaps Tuesday, at maximum, all those countries will be put on the red list from the PSC (Presidential Steering Committee) from the task force of COVID-19. Once they are put on the red list, which means they are banned, of course, their airlines will be banned.
“I am so sorry, we are going through a difficult moment, but we have to do it in the interest of our country.”