BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Nigeria like UN calls travel ban on African countries ‘Apartheid’

The Nigerian government has been reported to agree with António Guterres, the United Nation’s secretary-general, who has called the various Omicron coronavirus variant travel ban on African countries ‘travel apartheid.’

This is a targeted ban on countries, in this case, Southern African countries were the initial targets but Nigeria and some African peers have made the ‘travel Apartheid.’

The underlying assumption is that it is a preventive measure to control the spread of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus.

There is no robust scientific study that justifies this selective and quick action to shut out African countries as an effective measure to contain the spread of Omicron.

“As we might relate, no hospitalisation, no deaths, and what we have expected other countries of the world to do is to join in the scientific investigation of the potency and all issues relating to this Omicron because we have always expected that there will be a fourth wave of Coronavirus and is this disease ab-initio did not emanate from Africa. We align ourselves with the position of the UN secretary-general to classify the selective ban as travel apartheid.” Sarafa Ishola, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom stated during an interview on BBC.

Sarafa also said Nigeria’s minister of health’s statement yesterday that between 22nd November and 28 November 2021, 68 positive cases of COVID were discovered in Nigeria these happened to be travellers from the United Kingdom. That will not be a basis for Nigeria to take such action against Britain.

The impact in practical terms on Nigerians goes beyond those who have travel plans into the UK over the next few weeks.

Doctors, nurses work in the UK, providing health services to NHS and when they come back, you can imagine the effect even on Britain itself. “Since I assumed duty here, I am committed to deepening the relationship between Nigeria and the United Kingdom and of course, this decision is going to hamper that,” Sarafa said.

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

On the reversal of the ban, the ambassador said the UK should not be worried about people coming from Nigeria and that the decision should be reviewed and amended in a few days as opposed to the three weeks scheduled since the variant is still being investigated and did not emanate from Nigeria.

The British government says that travel restrictions are necessary to slow down the spread of the Omicron virus while scientists are monitoring the evidence of its effect.

According to the Nigerian Centre for Disease control, only three cases have been identified in Nigeria and the Omicron variant has been discovered in other non-African countries but why the selective ban on African countries?

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), also called for the immediate lifting of the travel bans given as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has now been found in virtually every country on earth.

In a tweet on Sunday night, Adesina said, “now that omicron has been found in many non-African and developed countries, why are travels from those countries not banned?

“Why single out African countries?

“Singling out African countries is very unfair, non-scientific and discriminatory.

“Global vaccines and travel apartheid against Africa are endangering lives, jobs and livelihoods, from a pandemic Africa did not cause.

“End the apartheid. Respect Africa,” the AfDB president said.

More than 15 European countries have reported the presence of Omicron but none of them is on the UK ban list for instance and many have called it a new form of racism.

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