Omicron: Nigeria engages Saudi Arabia on removal of travel restrictions

NEWS DIGEST – Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zubairu Dada has engaged with Amb. Faisal Al-Ghamdi, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Nigeria, calling for the removal of travel restrictions placed on Nigerians intending to visit Saudi Arabia.

Ibrahim Aliyu, the Special Assistant Media to Mr Dada, made this known in a statement made available to the media on Saturday in Abuja.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia placed travel restrictions on Nigerians intending to visit the country since the outbreak of the Omicron Variant of COVID 19 across the globe.

Dada appealed to the Saudi Authority to as a matter of urgency review the travel restrictions it placed on Nigerians over the Omicron outbreak as already done by many countries.

The Minister noted that many countries which had earlier placed bans on Nigeria had since reversed their positions having studied the achievements of Nigeria in containing the Pandemic.

“Although Nigeria has understood fully the reason for the ban by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was for the best interest of its citizens.

“But that the steps taken so far by Nigeria Authorities to curtail the spread of the Omicron Variant have made it possible for many countries to consider Nigeria as safe, removing Nigeria from the blacklisted countries,” Mr Dada stated.

Mr Dada commended the cordial relationship that existed for years and continued to exist between the two countries.

While expressing optimism for a timely response on Nigeria’s request from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dada pledged to continue to give every necessary support and cooperation to the Ambassador.

Mr Al-Ghamdi in his response expressed satisfaction with the effort of the Nigerian government in containing the spread of Omicron, promising to convey Nigeria’s message to the relevant Authorities back home in Saudi Arabia.

He stated that just like in Nigeria where there were bodies in charge of monitoring and the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Saudi Arabia also had similar agencies responsible for monitoring and controlling the pandemic.

Al-Ghamdi thanked the Minister for his commitment to improving bilateral relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

NAN