The Nigerian Government has disclosed plans to place the United Kingdom, Canada and Saudi Arabia on a red list over the outbreak and spread of Coronavirus’ Omicron variant.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who revealed this on Saturday in an audio recording also noted that flights from these countries will be banned from coming into Nigeria. This is in retaliation for the three nations banning travels from Nigeria over the new COVID-19 variant.
The minister noted that if the countries placed Nigeria on a red list, they lacked a moral right to have their airlines coming to Nigeria for commercial services.
In his words, Sirika said, “Today, there was a meeting in which I participated from the COVID-19 Task Force. We have given our input that it is not acceptable by us and we recommend that those countries – Canada, UK, Saudi Arabia and Argentina – be also put on the red list.
“So, like they did to us, if they don’t allow our citizens into their country; who are they coming as airlines to pick out of our country?
“So, they are not supposed to come in. I am very sure in the next three days; Monday or Tuesday, all those countries will be put on the red list of COVID-19.
“Once they are on the red list, which means they are banned, their airlines will also be banned. I am so sorry we are going through difficult times, but it is in the interest of our country.”
The General Authority of Civil Aviation in Saudi Arabia had confirmed the flight suspension in a circular to all airlines operating in the Kingdom.
The UK on its own had last Saturday included Nigeria on a red list of country where non-British travellers were banned over the new COVID-19 variant. The British High Commission had also stated that it will stop issuing visitor visa applications from all red list countries including Nigeria.