The Senate has condemned in strong terms the U.K Government’s inclusion of Nigeria in its COVID-19 red list.
In a motion, Senator Ike Ekweremadu at plenary on Tuesday, said the decision by the British Government to include Nigeria in the list, with its concomitant implications, will affect many citizens of Nigeria, who had planned to spend their Christmas and New Year holiday with their families.
He further stated that it is worrying that Nigerians who have a genuine need to visit the U.K within this period will be denied a Visa and those with one will not be allowed to enter the U.K.
Senator Ekweremadu also noted that targeting African countries especially in the COVID-19 travel ban amounts to profiling and discrimination as well as an attack on Nigeria’s cordial diplomatic relationship with the U.K.
The Senate, consequently, asked the Federal Government to constructively engage the British authorities with a view to reversing this inclusion.
The Upper Chamber 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.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives through a motion of urgent public importance by the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, asked the Foreign Affairs Ministry to interface with the UK government to reverse the decision of the ban.
The House is worried that the decision of the UK will affect Nigerian students in the UK who may be unable to return for the yuletide celebration.
The committees on health and foreign affairs have been mandated to interface with the PSC on the best way to resolve the matter.
The move has since received widespread criticism with many calling on the UK to rescind its decision.
President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, is one of those who condemned the incident, describing it as “very unfair, non-scientific, and discriminatory”.
“Lift bans on African countries!” Adesina said in a statement on Monday.
“Global vaccines’ and travel apartheid against Africa are endangering lives, hurting economies, lives, jobs and livelihoods, from a pandemic Africa did not cause. End the apartheid. Respect Africa!”
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, also condemned the decision, describing it as unjust and discriminatory.
Giving a different view of the development, a Professor of Virology, Oyewale Tomori, said the COVID-19 pandemic and other disease outbreaks in Nigeria are nothing compared to the real enemies of the country.
“Our underdevelopment and backwardness rest on four pillars – they are the real enemies of our nation,” Tomori said.
“They are (1) lack of patriotism – the destroyer of our nation; (2) self-interest – the burial ground of our national interest; (3) corruption – the executor of our underdevelopment, and (4) shamelessness – the destruction of our national pride.”