By Omeiza Ajayi
The Federal Government has urged authorities of the United Arab Emirates UAE to remove its discriminatory travel protocol put in place against Nigeria in the wake of the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF and Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee PSC on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha gave the charge Monday in Abuja during a briefing of the PSC.
He said the federal government is currently in talks with its UAE counterpart on the possibility of resuming reciprocal international flights.
“For some time now, Nigeria has been discussing with the authorities of the United Arab Emirates on the resumption of flights between the two countries. The PSC will urge the United Arab Emirates to remove the country-specific and discriminatory practices against Nigeria.
“Discussions are however on-going and we can assure Nigerians that the outcome will be in the interest of the country”, he stated.
Mustapha recalled that about 12 weeks ago, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency NPHCDA had commenced the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine across the nation with about two million persons vaccinated so far.
He said; “We have since then intensified the creation of awareness to achieve a reduction of vaccine hesitancy and encourage all eligible persons to come out and take their second dose.
“Over the weekend, His Excellencies, the President and the Vice President received their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Today, members of the PSC will receive their second dose during this briefing. This transparency is to underscore the safety of the vaccines”.
According to him, Nigeria will continue to monitor unfolding events in other countries and will deal with them as applicable, saying “Nigeria cannot afford a third wave and thus will do everything to protect our territory”.
The SGF added that in the next couple of weeks, “the PSC will focus on three major things, increase testing especially in the States; increase Oxygen reserve capacity in case there is a third wave and increase Vaccine acquisition drive”.
The event was also used to administer the second doses of the vaccine on members of the PSC and journalists who had earlier taken their first jabs.