MINISTER of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed has faulted the decision of the British Government to place Nigeria on a red list.
The United Kingdom had, last Saturday, outlined plans to add Nigeria to the red list for international travel beginning today, by 4 am.
Mohammed described the act as discriminatory while addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday.
He said, “As the Spokesman for the Federal Government, I can say, without mincing words, that the decision by the British government to put Nigeria on the red list, just because of less than two dozen cases of Omicron which, by the way, did not originate in Nigeria, is unjust, unfair, punitive, indefensible and discriminatory. The decision is also not driven by science.”
“How do you slam this kind of discriminatory action on a country of 200 million people, just because of less than two dozen cases? Whereas British citizens and residents are allowed to come in from Nigeria, non-residents from the same country are banned. The two groups are coming from the same country, but are subject to different conditions.
“Why won’t Britain allow people in both categories to come in, and be subjected to the same conditions of testing and quarantine? This is why this decision to ban travellers from Nigeria, who are neither citizens nor residents, is grossly discriminatory and punitive.”
Making a case for other African nations banned from travelling to Europe, the minister said the act would disrupt the quest to tackle the pandemic, globally. He accused the West of fully vaccinating themselves while leaving Africa to suffer from access to limited vaccines.
He said the Presidential Steering Committee had reviewed the travelling protocol, noting that passengers arriving in Nigeria were expected to have a COVID-19 PCR test to be done within 48 hours before departure; self-isolation for seven days and a day-seven post-arrival exit PCR test (for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals).
Similarly, outbound passengers were required to provide valid evidence of full vaccination against COVID-19 and a negative PCR test result within 48hrs from the time of boarding.
The minister finally urged the British government to reverse its decision, adding that “Nigeria does not belong on any country’s red list.”