12.12.2021 news Nigeria to Retaliate UK, Canada, Saudi Arabia’s Travel Ban

Published 12th Dec, 2021

By Gabriel Ogunjobi

The Nigerian government is planning to ban citizens of the United Kingdom, Argentina, Canada, and Saudi Arabia from entering Nigeria in retaliation for the decisions made by these four countries to ban Nigerian citizens over the detection of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in the country.

In a leaked audio obtained by THISDAY on Saturday, Senator Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, expresses dissatisfaction with the international restrictions on Nigerians, noting that the response proposed by his department is in the interest of the country.

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“Also, there is a case of Saudi Arabia which put Nigeria on the ban list – no visa, no travel, et cetera. So also Canada. So, today, there was a meeting; I participated in a zoom meeting, COVID-19 task force, just for your information also,” Sirika says.

“We have given our input in aviation; it is not acceptable by us and we recommend that those countries – Canada, the UK, Saudi Arabia, and Argentina – be also put on red list, as they did, similarly, to us.

“If they don’t allow our citizens to go into their countries, who are their airlines coming to pick from our country?”

The minister says the travel ban will be ratified by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 by Tuesday. 

“So, I am very sure that in the next few days, between now and Monday, or perhaps Tuesday, at maximum, all those countries will be put on the red list from the PSC (Presidential Steering Committee) from the task force of COVID-19. Once they are put on the red list, which means they are banned, of course, their airlines will be banned,” he says.

“I’m so sorry we are going through a difficult moment, but we have to do it in the interest of our country.”

Is the Nigerian Omicron Different from the One in the EU? — Nigerians React to UK Travel Ban

The United Kingdom had explained that adding Nigeria to its red list was due to a rise in the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the country.

Canada and Saudi Arabia had also banned travellers from Egypt, Nigeria, and Malawi to halt the spread of the same virus.

Published 12th Dec, 2021

By Gabriel Ogunjobi


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