By Saka, Fatima Oluwakemi – Abuja ( Nigeria)
The Nigeria National Assembly on Tuesday condemned in strong term the UK’s Omicron travel ban as the lawmakers called on their British counterparts to prevail on their Government to remove Nigeria from the Covid-19 red list.
British Deputy High Commission to Nigeria, Catriona Liang had a few day ago explained that the UK took the decision to protect her citizens
She said “the decision is a precautionary measures to protect public health in the UK, whilst we try to understand this new variant”.
According to her the ban may be lifted sooner than expected after the three week review point on December 20.
The Senate urged the United Kingdom to immediately remove the travel restrictions slammed on Nigeria.
This was coming following a motion pursuant to orders 42 and 52 of the Senate standing rules on the need for the Government of the United Kingdom(UK) to remove Nigeria from the red list moved by Senator Ike Ekweremadu(PDP Enugu West).
The President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan while commenting on the issue said
“I am using this opportunity to urge the British Parliament to mount pressure on their Government to remove Nigeria from the so-called red list.
“Well I am sure with this motion Nigerians have spoken to the British authorities that enlisting of Nigeria is seriously geopardising the diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“We are saying let there be justification for it. We are not saying that they cannot put any country on the red list without any cogent reasons for doing that.
He said it is a known fact that Nigeria has done so well to the admiration of many countries in the area of containment of COVID-19.
“So there is no need why Nigeria should be on the so-called red list, I believe Nigeria deserves a better treatment from the British Government.”
The Senate in its resolution earlier condemned in strong terms the U.K Government’s inclusion of Nigeria in their COVID-19 red list without justification.
They called on the Federal Government to constructively engage the British authorities with a view to reversing the inclusion.
They also called on the British authorities to consider removing Nigeria from the COVID-19 red list and to be sensitive to the diplomatic relationship between the two countries in taking decisions that affect Nigerian citizens.
The Senate called on theGovernment to remain firm in the enforcement of all necessary protocols in the containment of every COVID-19 variant in Nigeria.
They urged the major vaccine powers, namely, Britain, Canada, America, and the European Union, among others, to take urgent and bold steps to ensure vaccine equity in the best interest of the entire human race.
Senator Ejweremadu while presenting his motion noted with satisfaction the efforts of the Government of Nigeria in the containment and treatment of COVID-19 cases.
He added that Nigeria is among the countries with the lowest cases of COVID-19.
He expressed the concern that the decision by the British Government to include Nigeria in their COIVD-19 list, with its concomitant implications, will affect many citizens of Nigeria, who had planned to spend their Christmas and New Year holiday with their families.
According to him, Nigerians with genuine needs to visit the U.K within the period will be denied VISA and those with Visa will not be allowed to enter the U.K.
Explaining further he indicated that Nigerians have consistently complied with all the COVID-19 protocols required by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and U.K Government for travellers prior to this ban.
Therefore he said targeting African countries, especially in the COVID-19 travel ban, amounts to profiling and discrimination as well as an attack on our cordial diplomatic relationship with the U.K.
Yet he said the global concerns over vaccines hoarding and inequity and the resulting consequences on low-income nations in the fight against COVID-19 is well known to the British Government