The Federal Government has explained why it soft-pedalled on issuing a travel ban, particularly to and from the United Kingdom (UK) over the mutated strain of COVID-19.
Speaking on a Radio Nigeria programme “Politics Nationwide’’ in Abuja on Tuesday December 22, the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed said it will require the concurrence of neighbouring countries for the ban to be effective. He added that they do not want to make a hasty decision. In his words:
“Although the government is concerned over the importation of the COVID-19 new strain, it did not want to take a hasty decision.”
Lai Mohammed also revealed that the presidential Committee on COVID-19 deliberated on the issue at its meeting on Monday December 21, and decided to watch the development for the time being and also work with West African Health Organisations and other neighbouring countries, particularly, Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana.
“We did not want to take a hasty decision to ban flight from the UK into Nigeria only to find out our people are going through Cotonou, Lome or Accra to come into the country.
“What the airlines will do is to transfer Nigerian passengers to these routes and they will enter the country through the land borders.
“This will lead into hardship to Nigerians because if you transfer your economy to other countries, you lose a lot of money
“However, if we get the concurrence of these other countries, we will not hesitate to do the needful.
“We are consulting and being very careful in order to take a proper decision.”