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Omicron: Nigeria reciprocates, to ban flights from Saudi Arabia, UK, Canada

December 12, 2021

The federal government has disclosed plans to add the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Saudi Arabia and Argentina to its red list of travel ban reciprocating to a similar decision taken by these countries amid concerns of the Omicron variant.

The development is part of the decision taken at a meeting of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.

Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, who is also a member of the PSC in an audio recording he made Saturday said the directives which would take effect in the coming week will ban flights and citizens of the affected countries from coming into Nigeria.

Read also: Omicron: UK adds Nigeria to its travel red list

The UK had on November 4, added Nigeria to its red list and imposed a travel ban, citing the Omicron variant.

British health minister Sajid Javid, who announced the development, had said Nigeria was second only to South Africa in terms of Omicron cases linked to travel.

Canada and Saudi Arabia had also banned flights and Nigerians from coming into their countries.

Nigeria currently has signed Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with over 90 countries.

However, over the years, stakeholders have lamented that most air agreements between Nigeria and other countries have been one-sided as Nigerian airlines have been unable to reciprocate the agreements due to what they termed, “aero-politics”.

According to Sirika, Nigeria can no longer fold her hands to overlook the sovereignty of over 200 million of her citizens being taken for granted.

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