By Temidayo Ajibola
The Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) has called for global action against the restriction of movement of migrants as the world marks 2021 International Migrants Day on December 18.
Ajibola Abayomi, the President of JIFORM in a statement condemned in strong terms the travel ban initiated by some countries describing it as discriminatory and unjust.
“As we mark the International Migrants Day, we call for unrestricted movement of persons across the globe although in strict compliance with the Covid-19 rules devoid of politics and discriminuistion. We reject totally the seemingly extortion of migrants under guise of the Covid-19 preventive measures as being witnessed in some European and other countries.
“While we praise the United Kingdom for reversing the ban on 10 African countries earlier placed on red alert over the infection of Omicron Covid-19 infections, we advise that such premature actions should avoided in future more so that the World Health Organisation is yet to make a categorical statement encouraging restriction of migrants from any part of the world.
“It is regrettable that the decision of the UK although now reversed and that of Canada has encouraged continued extortion of migrants from many nations forcing them to pay for quarantine centres having been fully vaccinated.
“Making life unbearable for the migrants and using quarantine as an excuse is not only barbaric but uncalled for when the same people have been fully vaccinated with vaccines produced from the developed world. Yes, we are aware of a few exceptional cases where vaccinated migrants have tested positive however it is totally unacceptable to generalise or stigmatise some countries.
“While we call for conserted efforts to contain the series of Covid-19 variants in the interest of humanity, we hereby warn that systematic stigmatisation of Africans by some countries is dangerous and inimical to the non-discriminatory campaign of the United Nations.
Ajibola posited that: “It is a fact that neither did the Africans create Covid-19 or manufacture the vaccines. There should be caution on this undue restrictions on flight because such restrictions have become obsolete and lack the cohesion to slow down Omicron Covid-19 that had been transmitting at community level in different nations.”
The JIFORM President recommends regular testing and isolation of victims that tested positive rather than banning flights conveying particular nationals especially from Africa. Countries in Europe and North America that discovered the Omicron variant earlier were not even placed on red alert. What a bad omen.
“How did we get to this level? We are terrified that businesses have been ruined, the economies of many nations are in shambles and the only way to recover from the damage cum economic loss is to encourage regular movement of migrants across nations.
“We salute the contributions of migrants to the growth of the world economy. We share their pains at this critical moment as a result of the pandemic. The migrants are the heroes and heroines of this era because they are the frontline fighters against the Covid-19 and not those reeling out unnecessary stringent rules from the position of comfort in government.’
Ajibola said that JIFORM remained committed to the unrestricted movement of persons with reference to reasonable Covid-19 control measures where applicable that included vaccination and other health and non- health inclined preventive protocols. Above all, everyone must take responsibility.
“At this point, people cannot continue to live under the shadows of countless Covid-19 variants as protests are already evolving in Europe and North America against the die hard Covid-19 rules. We suggest that all hands must be on deck to fight the deadly disease with transparent policies” he said