Nigeria struck back at the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia following flight restrictions on the country as a result of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

In an announcement by the Minister of Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika, Sunday, with effect from Tuesday, December 14, the Federal Government will restrict airlines coming from Canada, United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia into Nigeria.

He said the decision was to reciprocate restricted flights from Nigeria into those countries over the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron.

Sirika said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration would also place the United Kingdom, Canada and Saudi Arabia on a red list over the outbreak and spread of the Omicron variant.

The minister noted that if those countries placed Nigeria on a red list, they lacked a moral right to have their airlines fly into Nigeria on commercial operations.

“There is also the case of Saudi Arabia that put Nigeria on the ban list. On Sunday, I participated in a meeting with the COVID-19 task force.

He stressed that airlines of the affected countries remained banned and the countries placed on Nigeria’s red list.

Sirika apologised to Nigerians intending to travel to those countries, but said the government’s decision was in the interest of the country.