The Federal Government will restrict airlines from Canada, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia entering Nigeria as of Tuesday, December 14.
Minister of Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika, announced the decision on Sunday in Lagos, explaining that it was in response to Nigerian restrictions on flights into those countries over the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.
According to Sirika, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will also put the United Kingdom, Canada, and Saudi Arabia on a no-fly list because of the Omicron variant’s breakout and expansion.
If those countries put Nigeria on a blacklist, the minister said, they have no moral right to have their airlines fly into Nigeria on commercial flights.
“Then there’s the case of Saudi Arabia, which placed Nigeria on a no-fly list. “We have offered our input that it is not acceptable to us and we requested that that Canada, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Argentina be placed on the red list as well,” I said at a meeting with the COVID-19 task force on Sunday.
“If they don’t let our citizens into their countries, as they did to us, who are they going to pick from our country as airlines?”
“They are not permitted to enter.” I am confident that in the next three days, on Monday or Tuesday, all of those nations will be included to COVID-19’s red list,” the minister stated.
He emphasized that the impacted countries’ airlines were still prohibited, and the countries were placed on Nigeria’s red list.
Sirika apologized to Nigerians planning to visit such nations, but insisted that the Nigerian government’s move was in the country’s best interests.