Scores of United Kingdom-bound travellers have been left stranded in Abuja and Lagos international airports as air carriers on Monday announced flight cancellation.
It was gathered that the British Airways at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, announced flight cancellation in the early hours of Monday.
Many travellers intending to travel to London Heathrow expressed their displeasure over the cancellation of their trip.
The airline in flyers signed by the BA Customer Service Duty Manager, Nwanorue Alexander said the situation was due to an operational challenge.
The flyer reads: “We would like to inform you of a change to the departure time of your flight BA 074 on December 5, 2021, to London Heathrow. We have had to make this adjustment to our schedule due to operational reasons…
“We are sorry for the change to your travel plans. Please, be rest assured that we will do everything we can to help.If you need additional help, please, speak to a member of our team at Lagos Airport.”
Though the air carriers hinged the cancellation on operational challenges, sources who spoke with the members of the press said the development was in line with the recent travel restrictions placed on Nigeria by the government of UK.
Recall that the United Kingdom, had on Saturday added Nigeria on its red list over the recent discovery of Omicron, even as the Nigerian government on Monday officially slammed the restrictions, describing it as “unjust” and “discriminatory”
The UK Secretary of State for Health, Mr Sajid Javid, had said the authorities decided to place Nigeria on its red list following the discovery of 21 cases of Omicron linked to persons travel from the country. He explained that 21 out of the total 134 cases of Omicron detected in the country originated from persons who travelled from Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has expressed his disappointment over the decision of the UK to place Nigeria on its red list.
The Minister who spoke during an interview with Channels Television on Sunday said the move was ill-advised, adding that it would have multiple impacts on commerce, and disrupt activities during the Christmas and New Year festivities.
In his words, “We were not very happy when six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were placed on a red list and the WHO also advised against putting each other on the red list.
“From what we know about the COVID-19, there are many ways to manage it, and besides, not much is still known about the Omicron variant. We know, for example, that there have been no fatalities.
“There have also been no reports of very severe illness. Actually, the rationale for being so hasty in putting countries on the red list is not something that is very helpful. It is going to disrupt commerce. It is going to disrupt family reunions.”