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13.12.2021 00:42 News >> ECOWAS Chairman Calls Omicron Travel Bans On Nigeria 'Unjustified'

ECOWAS Chairman Calls Omicron Travel Bans On Nigeria 'Unjustified'

Head of regional body says availability of vaccines in West African countries big problem.

The UK and Canada's decisions to impose travel bans on Nigeria over the omicron coronavirus variant are "unjustified," the head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said Sunday
In an address at the opening of the 60th summit of the regional body in Nigeria's capital Abuja, ECOWAS Chairman and President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo said the bans were also unfortunate.
"The new variant, omicron, has already been found in three [ECOWAS] member states and has led to unfortunate impositions of travel bans by some countries, which are unjustified and unacceptable," Akufo-Addo said.
He also expressed concern over the inadequate availability of COVID-19 vaccines in West African countries, noting that only 6% of the sub-region's population has received one vaccine dose and just 2% has been fully vaccinated despite the efforts of governments and other relevant parties across member states.
The ECOWAS chairman said that 674,556 cases of COVID-19 and around 10,000 deaths had been recorded in the region as of Dec. 8.
"This scourge has impacted our humanitarian, social and economic sectors, and it continues to rage with the emergence of a new variant and the risk of a new wave in our region," he said.
Heads of state and government of West African nations gathered for the organization's 60th summit to discuss issues of common interest including regional security, trade and commerce, and the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the countries' leaders attending the summit are Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari as the host, Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe, Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum, Senegal's President Macky Sall, Guinea-Bissau's President Umaro Sissoco Embaló, Sierra Leone's President Julius Maada Bio, Cape Verde's President Jose Maria Neves, Gambia's President Adama Barrow and Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara. -



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