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Omicron coranavirus: Senate Wants Nigeria removed from UK red list

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The Senate, Tuesday, unanimously condemned the inclusion of Nigeria on the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 red list following the emergence of the Omicron variant and called on the UK government to consider removing Nigeria from the list.

The resolution was sequel to a motion by former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu (PDP, Enugu), at Senate plenary, Tuesday.

He said: “The Senate: notes with satisfaction the efforts of the Government of Nigeria in the containment and treatment of COVID-19 cases.

“Further notes that Nigeria is among the countries with the lowest cases of COVID-19.

“Worried that the decision by the British Government to include Nigeria in their COIVD-19 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.

“Also Worried that Nigerians with genuine needs to visit the U.K within this period will be denied VISA and those with Visa will not be allowed to enter the U.K.

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“Notes that Nigerians have consistently complied with all the COVID-19 protocols required by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and U.K Government for travellers prior to this ban.

“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.

“Aware of the global concerns over vaccines hoarding and inequity and the resulting consequences on low-income nations in the fight against COVID-19”.

Accordingly, the Senate, after a debate, unanimously resolved to condemn in strong terms the U.K Government’s inclusion of Nigeria in their COVID-19 red list without justification.

It also called on the Federal Government to “constructively engage the British authorities with a view to reverse this inclusion”, while equally urging the British Government 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”.

The upper legislative chamber also called on the Nigerian Government to “remain firm in the enforcement of all necessary protocols in the containment of every COVID-19 variant in Nigeria”.

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The Senate further noted the global concerns over vaccine hoarding and inequity and the resulting consequences on low-income nations in the fight against COVID-19 and consequently 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”.

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, urged the UK Parliament into the matter, saying Nigerians deserved better treatment from the UK government.

“We don’t see any reason why Nigeria will be on that so called red list. I believe that Nigerians deserve better treatment from the British government.

“I’m using this opportunity to ask the British Parliament to mount pressure on their government to remove Nigeria from the so called red list”.

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