Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, first Africa-owned, US-based newspaper published on the Internet.
The Nigerian High Commissioner to London, Sarafa Tunji Isola, has joined in criticizing Nigeria’s inclusion on Britain’s travel “red list”, quarantine of travelers, expenses and other restrictive policies (due to cases of the Omicron Covid variant linked to travelers from the west African country and several southern Africa countries) as “travel apartheid”.
Isola said on BBC Radio 4’s show ‘Today’: “The reaction in Nigeria is that of travel apartheid. Because Nigeria is actually aligned with the position of the UN secretary general that the travel ban is apartheid, in the sense that we’re not dealing with an endemic situation, we are dealing with a pandemic situation and what is expected is a global approach, not selective.”
He added: “[Omicron] is classified as a mild variant – no hospitalisations, no deaths. So the issue is quite different from the Delta variant. I mean, the position has to be taken based on scientific and empirical evidence. It is not a kind of panicky situation. We must have the facts.”
Meanwhile, the UK Minister for Policing, Kit Malthouse, said the term “travel apartheid” was “very unfortunate language.”
Malthouse argued that “We understand the difficulties that’s created by these travel restrictions, but we’re trying to buy a little bit of time so that our scientists at Porton Down can work on the virus and assess how difficult it’s going to be for us to cope with as a country.”