Nigeria backs SA in criticism of travel bans over Omicron COVID variant

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Theto Mahlakoana

53 days ago
Nigeria backs SA in criticism of travel bans over Omicron COVID variant FILE: Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria, sits at the Shehu of Borno's palace in Maiduguri on 12 February 12, 2020. Picture: AFP.

ABUJA - Nigeria has thrown its support behind South Africa amidst the imposition of travel bans by several countries, including some on the continent, following the discovery of the Omicron variant.

Several countries including the UK, US and Rwanda have moved to ban southern Africans from travelling to their shores after scientists in South Africa identified the new variant which has since been found in several European countries as well.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has held talks with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari as part of his West Africa visit.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said that despite the scare generated by the new coronavirus variant, he and President Ramaphosa were able to hold successful meetings through fraternal cooperation and understanding.

He added that the signing of new memorandums of understanding between South Africa and Nigeria on diverse topics, including women and youth development, during the state visit would strengthen relations among the two nations’ citizens.

"We appreciate that we need to do much more to achieve further integration of our two economies and take full advantage of African Continental Free Trade Agreement. Once again, I want to thank my brother president and members of the South African delegation for their visit and wonderful, friendship, cooperation and solidarity," Buhari said.

Ramaphosa used the gathering, which included a high-level ministerial delegation and the business community, to criticise the travel bans imposed on the southern African region.

He said that they were arbitrary, discriminatory, unscientific and unproductive.

The president will be meeting with the Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara on Thursday.

This article first appeared on EWN : Nigeria backs SA in criticism of travel bans over Omicron COVID variant

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