The Federal government has concluded plans to restrict airlines coming from Canada, United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia into Nigeria from Tuesday, December 14.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this in Lagos, said it was to reciprocate the travel ban placed on Nigeria over the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.
Sirika said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration would place the countries on a red list over the outbreak and spread of the Omicron variant.
Last Monday, the UK placed Nigeria on its red list and announced that non-UK and non-Irish citizens travelling in from Nigeria will not be allowed entry into the country following the cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant reported in Nigeria.
Just like UK, Saudi Arabia and Canada also announced travel bans on Nigeria following the discovery of the Omicron variant in Nigeria.
Sirika argued that these countries do not have these countries cannot be allowed to fly to Nigeria when they placed a ban on Nigeria. News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, quoted the minister as saying:
“There is also the case of Saudi Arabia that put Nigeria on the ban list – no visa, no travel, etc. So also Canada. So, today, Sunday, there was a meeting, I participated in a zoom meeting with the COVID-19 task force, just for your information also.
We have given our input that it is not acceptable by us, and we recommended that those Canada, the UK, Saudi Arabia, and Argentina also be put on the red list.
As they did to us if they do not allow our citizens into their countries; who are they coming, as airlines, to pick from our country?
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.”
He stressed that airlines of the affected countries remained banned and the countries placed on Nigeria’s red list.
The Minister apologised to Nigerians intending to travel to these countries but said the Nigerian government’s decision was in the interest of the country.