Border closure: LCCI, MAN slam UK, others

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have berated the United Kingdom and other countries for mounting pressures on Nigeria to close her borders. Other countries that are pressuring Nigeria over the omicron variant of COVID-19 are Canada, Saudi Arabia and Argentina.

They explained that putting Nigeria on red list that had no traces of severe health reactions, hospitalisation and mortality was out of proportion. The groups, which are key members of the organised private sector (OPS) noted that the hasty move by the countries to impose flight ban on Nigeria was both politically and economically motivated to achieve their neo-colonialism propaganda. Speaking in separate interviews in Lagos, the President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Michael Olawale-Cole and his Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) counterpart, Mansur Ahmed, flayed the pressure being mounted over border closure for both inbound and outbound flights. Olawale-Cole said that the hasty moves by the countries showed immaturity in their bilateral relationship with Nigeria, saying that no death had been recorded.

The LCCI president said: “At times, it is very difficult to blame government for certain reactions. I will tell you that many people in the United Kingdom (UK) were not happy with what Boris Johnson and his cabinet had done with COVID- 19 omicron variant. “But I hold such opinion that Nigeria should not respond that way.

It shows that we are more civilised. The children will now go to Dubai, they will now meet, before taking another flight to London and they will now comeback to Lagos or anywhere in Nigeria. So, if we close our own border, it will just complicate things. “That is why am appealing to government that we should show maturity at a time like this. Also, for South Africa where they said the variant is from. But we have been told it’s not a terrible thing.

We are told that so far, no hospitalisation of the omicron variant. So, what is the hurry for Nigeria to have said that because this is happening in South Africa, let’s close the border.” However, he stressed the need for Nigeria to be a little more stricter at the airport. Also, the MAN president advised the affected countries to have a rethink on their hasty move in order not to scuttle bilateral relationship in terms of political and economic trade opportunities, saying that there was no cause for alarm on the omicron variant of COVID- 19 in Nigeria.

Ahmed urged government to follow the path of dialogue, saying that Nigeria was a key player in terms trade in the continent. He said MAN and its members were shocked about the role played by UK, Canada and Saudi Arabia governments on the isuue ofomicron variant of COVID-19.




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