Omicron: Senators, Reps angry over UK’s inclusion of Nigeria on red list




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The Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday faulted the United Kingdom’s inclusion of Nigeria on its COVID-19 red list.

The Upper Chamber called on the Federal Government to constructively engage with the British authorities with a view to reverse the inclusion.

It also called on the British authorities to consider removing Nigeria from the COVID-19 red list and to be sensitive to the diplomatic relationship between the two countries in taking decisions that affect Nigerian citizens.

It further urged the Federal Government to remain firm in the enforcement of all necessary protocols in the containment of every COVID-19 variant in Nigeria.

It urged the major vaccine powers, namely, Britain, Canada, America, and the European Union, among others, to take urgent and bold steps to ensure vaccine equity in the best interest of the entire human race.

These resolutions of the Senate followed a motion on matters of urgent national importance moved by Senator Ike Ekweremadu at plenary.

Ekweremadu’s motion titled: “Need for the Government of the United Kingdom (U.K.) to remove Nigeria from COVID-19 red list,” was premised on Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules.


Ekweremadu said the lawmakers were worried that “targeting African countries, especially in the COVID-19 travel ban, amounts to profiling and discrimination as well as an attack on our cordial diplomatic relationship with the U.K.”

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said that the decision to include Nigeria on the UK COVID-19 red list poses a strain on the diplomatic relations between both countries.

He bemoaned the poor treatment of Nigeria by the UK government.

He said: “Let there be justification for it. We are not saying that they cannot put any country on the red list, including Nigeria, but there must be reasons for doing that.”

The House of Representatives also faulted the ban, describing it as hasty.

It resolved to ask the Federal Government to embark on diplomatic moves to address the issue to ensure that Nigerians with educational and health dealings in the United Kingdom are not negatively affected.

Adopting a motion of urgent public importance moved by Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, members of the House, however, said the travel ban was a wakeup call for Nigerians to begin to develop the country.

Elumelu said over 8,000 travellers who bought tickets to visit Nigeria within this period of the Christmas period will be affected by the ban, resulting in huge economic loss to them, and denying some of them the opportunity to reunite with their families.

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