We won’t Lift Travel Ban Over Nigeria’s Retaliation – UK
The spokesman for the British High Commission, Dean Hurlock, said this in response on Sunday over a statement by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, that the UK, Canada and Saudi Arabia would be put on Nigeria’s travel ban on Tuesday.
Hurlock stated that Britain had made it clear that travel abroad would be different this year, adding that the UK was sticking to its “standard background lines.”
In a text message to the high commission, one of correspondents stated that the Federal Government had said it would place a travel ban on the UK as a retaliatory move.
The correspondent then asked, “Will that make the UK to rescind its travel ban?”
In his response, Hurlock stated, “The UK Government propose sticking to our standard background lines on whether ‘x’ country will put us on the red list and avoid getting into hypothetical situations.
“The UK government has been clear that travel abroad will be different this year and countries may impose border measures at short notice in line with their own coronavirus policies.”
He added that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice was kept under constant review and asked travellers to continue to check it for entry requirements of the destination they plan to visit.
“Travellers can also sign up for e-mail alerts on GOV.UK to get the latest updates as soon as they happen. We are in regular conversations with other countries about their travel policies,” Hurlock explained.
In the press release, the UK had said Nigeria would be added to the travel red list as from 4am on December 6 following 21 cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19 reported in England, which had travel history from Nigeria.
“These are temporary measures that have been introduced to prevent further omicron cases from entering the UK and will be examined at the three-week review point on 20 December.”
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, had said Omicron cases in the UK had clear links to overseas travel from Nigeria and South Africa.
But the Minister of Aviation, Sirika, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Sunday, said the Federal Government would place travel ban on the UK, Canada, Argentina and Saudi Arabia as a retaliation for the travel restriction on Nigeria.
He disclosed the Federal Government would restrict airlines coming from Canada, the UK and Saudi Arabia into Nigeria.
According to him, the decision is to reciprocate restricted flights from Nigeria into those countries over the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.
Sirika said the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, (retd.) would also place the UK, Canada and Saudi Arabia on a red list over the outbreak and spread of the Omicron variant.
The minister noted that if those countries placed Nigeria on a red list, they lacked a moral right to have their airlines fly into Nigeria on commercial operations.