The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has given the British Mission in Nigeria 3 days ultimatum to revoke its decision to pause the issuance and processing of visas to Nigerians over the discovery of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
The ultimatum was said to have been given during its protest at British Deputy High Commission in Lagos over the country’s travel and visa ban placed on Nigerians over the Omnicron variant.
During the protest on Tuesday, the Union stated that if there is an absence of solutions in the next 72 hours, they will have no other choice but to shut down the activities of British and Canadian missions across Nigeria.
While condemning the ban, the Chairman, NANS Ogun Chapter, Kehinde Damilola, stated that the association was displeased with the decision of the British government to place a ban on travels from Nigeria, adding that the decision is pure racism and an attempt to intimidate African countries, particularly Nigeria.
“We have come to say enough is enough with the treatment Nigeria constantly receives from Europe. The narrative has to change because Nigerians are not a symbol of havoc or hazard.This decision will affect not only visitors but also our international students who are studying in the U.K. The omicron variant did not emanate from Nigeria, neither do we have up to a dozen cases so why should we be punished for it even over other European countries?” he said.
The student leader further urged the British mission to look into the situation without delay, adding that the exorbitant quarantine fee for students and visitors should also be revoked.
Also, Adegboye Olatunji, NANS South-West Coordinator, noted that COVID-19 was not an African virus neither was the new variant, Omicron.
“Placing a ban on only African members of the Commonwealth is not right. We should be thinking of solutions on how to eradicate the virus and vaccinate Africans instead of coming up with red lists.
“We have thousands of students studying in the U.K. who have plans of returning to Nigeria for festivities season but their plans have been cut short. We are not here to fight anyone, neither are we here to cause havoc,” he said.
Speaking with newsmen, an official of the British mission, who did not disclose his name, stated that audiovisual recording of the protest had been forwarded to appropriate authorities to address the issue.
“We will be relating happenings to the Deputy Head of Mission who will, in turn, make calls to London. That is where we are going to take it from because we can’t make instant decisions,” he said.
Policemen and other security agents were said to have been on the ground at the British Deputy High Commission to prevent any security breach.
As gathered, following the discovery of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, the British government put Nigeria and other selected African countries on the red list. The variant was discovered recently in South Africa and has since then been found in 38 countries including France, Germany, Netherlands, South Africa, Portugal, Australia and others.