The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said that Nigeria is taking its time before banning flights from the United Kingdom which has just witnessed the new version of coronavirus, called mutated COVID 19 strain.
LaiMohammed, who spoke today, December 22 in a Radio Nigeria programme, “Politics Nationwide,” said that Nigerian government would require the concurrence of neighbouring countries for the ban to be effective.
According to him, the government is concerned over the importation of the new COVID-19 strain, saying however that it did not want to take a hasty decision on the matter.
He said that the Presidential Committee on COVID-19 deliberated on the issue at its meeting yesterday, December 21 and decided to watch the development for the time being.
The minister said that the federal government is working with Benin Republic, Togo, and Ghana on the issue.
“We did not want to take a hasty decision to ban flight from the UK into Nigeria only to find out our people are going through Cotonou, Lome or Accra to come into the country.
“What the airlines will do is to transfer Nigerian passengers to these routes and they will enter the country through the land borders.
“This will lead to hardship for Nigerians because if you transfer your economy to other countries you lose a lot of money
“However, if we get the concurrence of these other countries, we will not hesitate to do the needful.
“We are consulting and being very careful in order to take a proper decision.”
Several countries, including Germany and South Africa had on Tuesday banned flights from UK over the new COVID-19 strain.
However, the European Commission has recommended that travel bans imposed by EU countries on the UK to contain a new COVID-19 strain should end, to allow freight and essential travel to resume and for people to return home.