Omicron variant: Reps call for reversal of ban placed on Nigeria

• Task FG to fix health sector, other critical sectors

Members of the House of Representatives’Committee, on Tuesday, called for immediate reversal of the alleged racist-like ban on Nigerian travellers by the United Kingdom over the Omicron spread.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by the Minority Leader, Hon Ndudi Elumelu, who expressed displeasure over several negative effects of the ban on Nigerian travellers and students, especially during the Yuletide when families desire to spend quality time together.

He expressed worry why such energy was not put into scientifically dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hon Elumelu worried why the United Kingdom government did not adopt the measure by the United States to ask travellers to take COVID-19 tests before entering into their country?

He expressed further worry at the economic loss that will be suffered by intended travellers who have already procured tickets for the U.K during this period.

He called on the House Committees on Foreign Affairs as well as that on the Covid-19 Task Force to liaise with the British government to see a reversal of the travel ban.

Also speaking, Hon. Garba Muhammed in supporting the motion who condemned the travel ban on Nigeria by the UK and wondered why they always treat Nigerians with contempt, called for Nigeria to review its membership of the Commonwealth.

While venting his view, Hon. Olajide Jimoh who described the hasty and drastic ban on Nigerian travellers as one of the injustices that should be redressed condemned the racist connotation of the ban.

While expressing displeasure over the development, Hon Ossai Nicholas Ossai called for a compassionate and diplomatic solution to the problem especially as both nations are members of the Commonwealth.

In his remarks, Hon Henry Nwawuba who stated that the ban on Nigerian travellers is akin to putting the cart before the horse called for a diplomatic solution to the issue.

On his part, Hon Dachung Bagos while stressing the need for fairness in the way countries treat Nigerians and for Nigeria to react in like manner to the way countries treat, maintained that the existing relationships should be complimentary.

Also speaking, Hon Gboluga Dele called for thoroughness in ensuring the Nigeria healthcare system is improved so that other nations can have more confidence in Nigeria’s preparedness in dealing with issues such as pandemics.

While frowning at the development, Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Hon Onofiok Luke, wondered why different countries have taken to treating Nigeria badly recently?

The lawmakers who stressed the need to fix Nigeria’s infrastructure with a view to reduce the mass exodus of Nigerians abroad, called for the immediate inward look so that Nigeria can indeed be developed.

In his contribution, Deputy Minority Leader, Hon Toby Okechukwu, who called for the development of proper protocol to deal with pandemics, bemoaned the economic loss that will be suffered by those who have already made travel plans only to get banned without refund.

While calling for the House intervention with a view to reverse the ban, Hon Okechukwu called for proper research so Nigeria can produce indigenous vaccines for these infectious diseases and their variants.

In his remarks, Hon Aminu Suleiman called for an internal self-assessment following the pronunciation that Nigeria was connected in any way to the omicron variant.

He wondered why the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) accepted the strain being in Nigeria when there was no evidence to support this?

He stated that the British government, though acted rashly but it was a reaction to Nigeria’s inaction.

Also speaking, Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji argued that the issue is a wake-up call for Nigerians to fix the health system, maintained that the ill-treatment of Nigerians seem to be widespread among different countries.

To this end, he called for the fixing of all critical sectors of Nigeria to avoid future embarrassments.

In his contribution, Hon. Johnson Oguma who observed that the British government were only acting in self-preservation and that this is a call to order for Nigerians, called for proper vaccination of Nigerians.

Hon. Johnson who called for seriousness on the part of Nigerians to battle the pandemic, harped on the need for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to ascertain the cost of the travel ban.

While ruling, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ahmed Wase who presided over the plenary stressed that one of the key duties of parliament is to ensure the rights of Nigerians home and abroad are not trampled on and to redress this whenever and wherever this happens.

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Omicron variant: Reps call for reversal of ban placed on Nigeria

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