Following the outbreak of Ebola Virus in Lagos, Nigeria, the Federal Government has assured that it was taking adequate measures to contain the spread of the disease in the country.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, told newsmen in Abuja that the government was scaling up public awareness on the dangers of the scourge to prevent citizens from contracted the disease.
Chukwu also said that government was procuring kits for medical and health workers to protect them from the disease.
He called for synergy of all stakeholders to nip the development in the bud.
To this end, South-West governors had an emergency meeting on Wednesday in Lagos on how to curtail the disease.
They also called for collaboration between the federal government and states to curtail a further spread of the virus in the country.
Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, who spoke on behalf of the governors, described the virus as a threat, not only to the region, but also to the entire country.
Fashola said that there must be collaboration and coordination of efforts by states and the federal government to manage the situation.
He said that the governors had met with all the commissioners for health in the region, and had been equipped with technical details of the virus and how to curtail it.
Fashola said it was time for the federal government to ensure proper manning of the country’s borders, adding that unchecked cross-border movements could undermine efforts to curtail the spread of the virus.
The governor urged other states not to panic about the virus, assuring that efforts were being made to combat the virus.
Also speaking, Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun said the 70 illegal borders in Ogun and the more than 100 in the other states could jeopardise the fight against the virus.
Amosun urged the federal government to deploy its security personnel to man the borders in a bid to check the threat of the disease.
“Two weeks ago, NMA was having its Week and I mentioned that Ogun and some other states have illegal borders.
“We are more prone and more at risk really in this Ebola virus than others.
“We have put all our security agencies and the respective medical personnel at the illegal borders.
“But, when you have in excess of 100, you and I know that the state doesn’t have the capacity really in manning these borders.
“Indeed, it is not our responsibility in manning the borders, we should collaborate with the government which is what we are doing’’ he said.
Gov. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo also said it was high time the government checked illegal movement of people into the country to curtail the Ebola virus threat.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a lot of Nigerians are becoming aware of the Ebola virus as they are taking precautions to ensure they do not contract it.
The Chairman of Chibok Community in Abuja, Mr Tsambido Abana, appealed to the federal government to deploy health workers and researchers to investigate the community.
This, according to Abana, is to make sure that the disease has not spread to the area, adding that the call became necessary as they live close to the forest.
“We are fearful about our area because we are close to the forest and we have direct contact with animals, the government should send researchers to confirm that the Ebola virus disease is not in Chibok.
“We need the help of the government because one cannot be too sure, probably enlightenment campaigns on the diseases,’’ he said.
In Benin, the level of awareness of residents about the dreaded Ebola virus seems to be high as bush meat sellers’ record low patronage.
Many of the residents told NAN that they became aware of the disease through the mass media.
They urged the government and other stakeholders to intensify or device means to pass the message across to those in the rural areas.
A NAN correspondent, who visited some major markets in Benin, observed that the prices of different types of bush meat had dropped by more than 50 per cent since the virus claimed its first victim in Lagos.
Madam Esosa Obosa, a bush meat seller at the popular Uwa meat market, said “my son, this new disease is affecting our meat business.
“Since last week, we have experienced a drop in the sales of all kinds of bush meat such as monkey, grass cutter, pumpkin pine and snake.
“Because of the drop in sales, we have not been able to purchase fresh bush meat.
“Some of our big customers, especially hotels and operators of guest houses, have reduced the quantity they used to buy from us,’’ she said.
Another meat seller, Mr Eti Idahosa, who had been in the business for more than 20 years, said “we have never seen this sharp drop in sales within so short a time of the news of any disease.
“Although we are not happy about the low sales, but we are happy that people are now conscious about happenings around them and therefore are taking precautions.
“We are praying that the concerned authority should quickly find cure or solution to this disease, otherwise, we may need to find new businesses for ourselves,’’ he said.
A resident, Miss Gloria Adams, who was seen buying some snails, said she usually buys bush meat, but she has decided to settle for snails for now.
“I want everybody concerned to increase the level of sensitisation so that the causes, mode of transmission and effects of the disease can be fully understood, especially for uneducated persons and those in the rural areas, she said.
She also called on the government to strengthen health care services and research institutes, so that the country would not be thrown into confusion.
Mr Moses Emeka, a student, said the current happenings around the world were signs of end time, and urged the human race to turn back to God.
Mrs Olafunke Atiku, a fashion designer, claimed to know about the disease in her church.
A food vendor, Mrs Rebecca Ojo, said she was aware of the Ebola virus and its mode of transmission.
According to her, she no longer sells bush meat but goat meat.
Ojo, however, said government should include the distribution of handbills, motorised rallies and jingles in the different local languages to create awareness at the grassroots. (NAN)