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Lai: UK’s ban of travellers from Nigeria over Omicron is discriminatory

Lai: UK’s ban of travellers from Nigeria over Omicron is discriminatory
December 06
11:57 2021

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says the ban of travellers from Nigeria by the UK over Omicron, a COVID-19 variant, is discriminatory.

On Saturday, the UK put Nigeria on its red list as a result of COVID Omicron cases linked to Nigeria.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, Mohammed said the UK government’s decision is not driven by science.

“As the spokesman for the federal government, I can say, without mincing words, that the decision by tye 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,” Mohammed said.

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“The decision is also 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 being subjected 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 travellers from Nigeria, who are neither citizens nor residents, is grossly discriminatory and punitive.”

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The minister asked why the world could not address the issue of access to vaccines in some countries without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, political belief, economic or any other social condition.

“This is the real issue to address, instead of choosing the easy path of travel bans, which the UN Secretary General called Travel Apartheid. Let the world know that no one is safe until everyone is safe,” he said.

“In the wake of the discovery of Omicron, the PSC has reviewed its International Travel Protocol. The revised protocol, which came into effect yesterday (5 Dec. 2021), is aimed at further reducing the risk of importation and exportation of COVID-19, especially the variants of concern.

“Under the revised protocol, passengers arriving in Nigeria are expected to provide evidence of and comply with the following rules: COVID-19 PCR test to be done within 48 hours before departure, post-arrival Day 2 COVID-19 PCR test, self-isolation for seven days (for unvaccinated and partially-vaccinated individuals)

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“Day seven post-arrival exit PCR test (for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals).

“These are science-driven actions, rather than those based on emotions and other extraneous reasons.

“However, if any country is not satisfied with them, why not simply subject Nigerians arriving in their country to their own PCR tests and proven conditions, like quarantine, instead of banning them outrightly?”

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