Gist: [Revealed] How Ebola got to Nigeria - Sawyer came looking for a Cure  (Read 4590 times)

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But how did Ebola get to Nigeria? - Gov Fasola speaking ....

First, we can confirm authoritatively now that Mr Patrick Sawyer did come to Nigeria knowing full well he had contacted the Ebola disease. He came here looking for a cure. His widow in New York attested to that much. Mr Sawyer wasn't alone. Another diplomat sneaked through the border and sought cure for the same disease in Port Harcourt.

Furthermore, there were news reports of a few Ebola-stricken West African nationals who tried to cross into Nigeria through the Niger and through some South-South borders. They were all turned back. Also, three travellers suspected to be Ebola-infected were apprehended after they crossed into Ogun State through the Imeko-Afon border.

Why did all these people come, and wanted to get into Nigeria? They were practically invited to come by the now former Minister for Information, Labaran Maku.

On Wednesday April 2, 2014, Jonathan was away in Brussels. In his place, Vice President Sambo chaired the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja. Immediately after this meeting, while briefing journalists on its outcome, Maku reportedly declared to the world that Nigeria has Ebola virus disease vaccines.

Specifically, Maku said: "Nigeria is prepared right now to curtail any outbreak particularly given reports that few counties on the West Coast like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have reported cases of Ebola fever and given our proximity to these, Nigeria is ready. The ministry has taken every precaution, including getting vaccines and medicines to ensure that should there be any incidence in Nigeria, everything would be dealt with precision."

The man wasn't done. He added: "So far, there is nothing like Ebola fever in Nigeria, and Council was reassured that every step has been taken to ready our country just in case infected persons come into the country from our neighbouring countries."

This was the same briefing where the re-basing of our economy was mentioned for the first time and perhaps that over-shadowed the titbit about us having Ebola vaccines. So while most Nigerians heard 'Rebasing,' our Ebola-stricken neighbours heard 'Vaccines.'

I suppose Mr Maku could be reasonably excused on the basis that he was perhaps just passing on information he received from the Health Ministry. However, he could have checked and confirmed his facts before making categorical statements. Giving Nigeria's pre-eminence in the continent, why would other Africans not take Maku's statement seriously?

Even as late as July 25th, few days after Sawyer escaped into Nigeria, the Project Director of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, one Professor Abdulsalam Nasidi, chipped-in: "... We have mobilised rapid response teams in addition to developing a detailed response plan that includes a comprehensive health education, health promotion to sensitise Nigerians, enhanced surveillance to detect and treat the disease."

What's a desperate African citizen to do on the back of such reassuring statements? Same thing is happening to America now. A few people with Ebola have flown into that country since the USA was able to successfully cure a couple of people with the Ebola virus.

It is painful that some people have had to lose their lives as a result of Sawyer's and other's actions, but we must put things in their proper perspective. People in offices of high responsibility must be more discerning and more sensitive when it comes to matters of life and death. There are times to grandstand and there are other times to be serious.

So when Jonathan described Patrick Sawyer as "crazy" and a "mad man," perhaps, he ought to have been looking elsewhere.


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