By Victoria Ojeme
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has suspended all flights from Nigeria due to the the new Coronavirus variant, Omicron.
There were unconfirmed reports earlier yesterday that there were preparations for repatriation Nigerians in the Kingdom over Omicron.
However, several sources in the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Kano as well as officials at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, MAKIA, confirmed that there was an order to restrict flights from Nigeria over Omicron.
Since the Kingdom lifted the ban on Nigerian flights, many people, especially from Kano, have visited the country for lesser Hajj, while others are waiting for scheduled dates to visit.
But an official of the Saudi Consulate in Kano, who chose not to be named because he was not instructed to talk to the media, said yesterday that there was an order to restrict Nigerian flights in order to check the spread of Omicron in the Kingdom.
An official at Kano Airport also confirmed that already a circular had been issued that all lesser Hajj trips should be cancelled, due to the development.
“Yes it is true because a circular was issued that all Lesser Hajj flights should be canceled and there will be no more flights from Nigeria until further notice.
“I think they are following suit the decision of other countries like UK to prevent against having the virus in the kingdom,” the source told our correspondent under anonymity.
However, one of the top Airline Operators said he could not confirm the development as two flights, Qatar and Badar Air, left Abuja for Jeddah, on Wednesday morning.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in Saudi Arabia later confirmed the flight suspension in a circular to all airlines operating in the Kingdom.
Nigeria currently has six confirmed cases of Omicron virus.
The Federal Government had rejected the ban imposed on Nigeria by UK and Canada over Omicron.