Monday’s inclusion of Nigeria in UK’s travel red list of potential Omicron variant indemic zones has elicited criticisms from Nigerians and other Africans leaders, with some describing the ban as wicked and unfair.
Nigeria became the 11th country to be listed among countries banned for international travels.
But those familiar with the issue expressed surprise that the countries so far on the list were Africans.
The only group of people permitted to enter the UK from these countries are UK or Irish nationals, or UK residents.
Conditions attached to the listing include that all travelers arriving from Nigeria after Monday, December 6 must isolate at home for 10 days, apart from members of their household also self-isolating with them for equal number of days.
Also, affected individuals would be offered free PCR tests on day eight after their arrival in the UK in line with the requirements by the UK’s health and border health authorities.
Nigerians in the UK have criticized the new restrictions as grossly unfair, wicked, and exploitative.
Apart from UK, several other countries that announced travel restrictions on travelers from South Africa in the wake of the latest variant of COVID-19 include the US, France and Ireland.
These countries now require passengers to take pre-departure tests.
On Wednesday, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, was quoted by the BBC as using the term “travel apartheid” to decribe the nee restrictions, saying the bans were “not only deeply unfair and punitive, they are ineffective”.
The organization said the decisions could2 discourage countries from reporting and sharing important data.
For Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, the restrictions on African countries were nothing, but “instruments of immigration control”.
Although the new COVID-19 variant was first detected in South Africa in November, the level of prevalence is ywt to be fully determined in other parts of the continent, with the Centre for Disease Control reporting only three cases so far.
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, lamented that the travel restrictions on Nigeria and other African countries were very unfair, non-scientific and discriminatory action.
Adesina who stated this through his verified Twitter handle, @akin_adesina, urged the western countries to reconsider their decisions and lift the travel ban on the affected African countries.
Adesina wondered why travel ban was not imposed on non-African countries where Omicron variant was discovered long before the recenr breakout.
”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, hurting economies, lives, jobs and livelihoods from a pandemic Africa did not cause. End the apartheid. Respect Africa,” Adesina said.