Omicron: FG responsible for UK travel restrictions- Prof Tomori

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NNPC report

Says travel bans racism, inequity

By Abdullahi Mohammed, Abuja
Mr Oyewale Tomori, a professor of virology and educational administrator said Monday that the federal government should be blamed for the travel restrictions imposed on Nigerians by the governments of United Kingdom and Canada over cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Speaking at a National COVID-19 Summit with a theme “Pushing Through the Last Mile to End the Pandemic and Build Back Better,” Prof Tomori said the Nigerian government should have viewed the travel restrictions as racism and inequity.In a paper titled “Global Health Security Threat: Repositioning To end the Pandemic and Build Back Better,” the former Vice-Chancellor of Redeemer’s University, said it is regrettable that Nigeria was paying for condoning errors of commission and overlooking errors of omission.

Prof Tomori also blamed Nigerians for enabling poor performance by telling those in government that they are doing well when they are not.

He said stakeholders often tend to forget that disasters and pandemics seriously affect environment and most especially culture.He said no matter the plans formulated to respond to pandemics and disaster, it will surely fail, if the issue of culture and environment are not seriously addressed.

“As I said earlier, global health security just as the individuals make the nation, and the nations make the world, so also Global Health Security must be built on the foundation of National Health Security and the National Health Security must be laid on the foundation of individual or personal health security.

“COVID is not the enemy. Lassa fever is of minor league. Yellow fever is yellow livered. Monkeypox is child’s play. Cholera is a dehydrator.

“Our underdevelopment and backwardness rest on four pillars. They are the real enemies of our nation, and they are: Lack of patriotism, the main destroyer of our nation; Self-interest, the burial ground of our national interest; Corruption, the executor of our orderly development and Shamelessness, the destruction of our national pride.

“Over the last 60 years, these diseases, all affecting our culture, have become the combined endemic demolisher of the foundation of our individual health security which has shaken the foundation of our national health security and in turn determined our irrelevance as a nation in contributing meaningfully to global health security.”“…But soon an outbreak occurred, which later become endemic. It came on us surreptitiously, killing our nation slowly. It was a disease that affected the three pillars of our nation, touching every stratum, damaging every fiber of our nation. The disease slew good governance, murdered societal sanctity and eradicated individual integrity. The disease annihilated the good in our culture and elevated to prominence the ugly in our culture.

The disease came in three forms – greedy self-interest, blatant lack of patriotism, and unabashed shamelessness“Today, we lie to each other. The government lies to us, and we reciprocate with bigger lies, telling the government it is doing well, when we know it is not. We clap with the loudest ovation for a non- performing leader. We acclaim in pretended joyous ecstasy, those we should not, even when we know they are not telling the truth. We pray that our king lives forever, and he says AMEN, when we BOTH know we shall all die.“I woke up today to hear that Canada no longer recognizes my genuine vaccination card. And Britain has clamped a travel ban on us. A few days ago, I had to know there was omicron in Nigeria from outside. The same Canada was telling me that Nigerians who travelled out with negative covid lab result were Omicronised, before my own CDC finally tells me that we had the variant, detected in samples collected from people recently travelled from South Africa….were they people on the entourage of President Ramaphosa.

They did not tell. We painfully call the reactions of the UK and Canada, racism, inequity. But I say we are paying for condoning our errors or commission and overlooking our errors of omission.“Mr. President and Eminent Leaders of our country, we must apply Build Back Better, first on our old cherished culture. If we must reposition our country to end current and future disease pandemics, we must start with building back better, those aspects of our culture that revered honour, that treasured integrity, that prized probity, that appreciated accountability, that valued transparency, that embraced honesty, that practised fairness, that ensured equity, that dispensed justice fairly, and which cherished patriotism.

“Mr. President, the current generation of Nigerians is much smarter than my generation, give them one-tenth of the enabling opportunity and environment which good governance gave my generation, and Nigeria will be donating vaccines to poor Europe, as India is doing; Nigeria will be providing loans to China, and not the other way round.The first epidemic we must address is the one affecting our culture and true Nigerianess. We must have a nation where national interest buries self-interest. Otherwise, this summit will become a mirage and a vapour, it will be burnt to ashes by the fire of evil that plagues us.

” Unless we build back better on our culture, the outcome of the summit will descend into the valley of the disregarded and disremembered, and become another expensive exercise in futility. Mr. President, eminent participants, I speak as I have spoken, because I love you as I love my country. I have no other country,” he said.

Also speaking, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, called for a frank discussion and set target to end the COVID-19 pandemic by 2022.“Let me appeal to lawmakers and development partners participating in the discussions to be brutally frank with us as to where or what we need to do. Because COVID-19 is not likely to go away in the very near future.“And in an attempt to put a sustainable framework that will ensure the administration of what we are able to put in place, there is need for openness and frankness.

Where we have done well, applaud us, where we have not been able to meet expectations of our people remind us of the task that lies ahead. You can do that as much as you can. But also encourage wherever you can,” he said.