Former Nigerian Central Bank deputy governor, Kingsley Moghalu has insisted that African countries like Nigeria and South Africa should apply reciprocal travel restrictions on the United Kingdom and other Western countries who have placed Nigeria on a no-fly list due to the Omicron COVID-19 variation.
The World Health Organization two weeks ago identified the omicron mutation as a variety of concern, according to the PUNCH. Three cases of the variant were recorded in Nigeria last week, according to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control. The Canadian government had earlier reported that it had uncovered two people with the mutation in Nigeria.
The United Kingdom announced on Saturday night that it has detected 21 cases of the omicron variant linked to Nigeria. From Monday, all planes traveling from Nigeria would be limited, according to the statement (today).
It also halted all pending visa applications in Nigeria due to the stoppage of flights from Nigeria due to the Omicron variant.
Despite travel bans enforced by Canada, the UK, Indonesia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has ruled out the possibility of banning international visitors on Sunday.
The knee-jerk reaction of some countries to the Omicron strain, according to Ehanire, is terrible. He pointed out that even the World Health Organization has stated that rather than closing borders, governments should rely on partnership.
“At this time, we have no plans to impose any restrictions on anyone arriving from another nation,” he said.
“Nigeria and other African countries, such as South Africa, should issue reciprocal limitations or bans on any Western countries that restrict or ban African travel due to the Omicron version of COVID-19,” Moghalu wrote in response.
“It is unfair to subject Africans to restrictions because of a mutation that did not originate on the continent, yet Western countries with similar or more cases do not face the same restrictions.”
“This isn’t just about public health. In international relations, it’s all about worldviews. It is important to maintain our dignity. Instead of traveling around the world with a begging bowl for foreign assistance, as Nigeria does now, our leaders should safeguard it.”