The Nigerian Government has stated that it will place the United Kingdom, Canada and Saudi Arabia on a red list over the outbreak and spread of Coronavirus' Omicron variant.
The President Muhammadu Buhari's administration say it will also stop airlines from those countries coming into Nigeria in retaliation for the three nations banning travels from Nigeria over the new COVID-19 variant.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, revealed this in an audio recording obtained by SaharaReporters on Saturday.
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.
Sirika said, “There is also a case of Saudi Arabia that put Nigeria on the ban list; Canada. 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.”
SaharaReporters had reported earlier that citing the increasing cases of Omicron, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia suspended flights from Nigeria.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation in Saudi Arabia had confirmed the flight suspension in a circular to all airlines operating in the Kingdom.
On Wednesday, there were unconfirmed reports that there were preparations for repatriating Nigerians in the Kingdom over Omicron.
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 last Sunday said it would stop issuing visitor visa applications from all red list countries including Nigeria.
The Federal Government had rejected the ban imposed on Nigeria by UK and Canada over Omicron.
Saharareporters, New York