Bats at the Villa
How that the Goodluck Jonathan presidency has declared a national emergency regarding the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), it may be expected that the administration would take certain unusual steps in line with the announcement.
In particular, to go by a newspaper report by a State House correspondent in Abuja, the government is likely to launch an operation to get rid of the bats that populate the location of Aso Rock Villa, the president’s official base.
The correspondent said: “One of the animals the Minister of Health mentioned as carriers of Ebola was bat. That also generated another round of fear. Many of the big trees inside the Villa are homes for bats. They fly around the Villa in their thousands. They pass out faeces on cars, leaving the owners with no option than to clean them.”
He continued: “Journalists called the attention of the minister to this and he was also surprised. He quickly hid his fear and assured the agitated journalists that those concerned will definitely do something about the bats as soon as possible.”
So, Hardball expects a vigorous effort to make the place inhospitable for bats, but wonders how this will be achieved, considering the information that they are present “in their thousands.” Given the government’s penchant for governance-by-committees, it won’t be surprising if it sets up yet another committee to tackle the bats.
Sadly, apart from the unfortunate death of a Nigerian nurse who contracted the disease from the late Liberian diplomat, Patrick Sawyer, whose entry into the country on July 20 triggered the spread of the virus, reports say 177 others are currently under Ebola-related surveillance in the country. Against this alarming background, it is perhaps understandable that, according to the Aso Rock correspondent, “the spread of the virus was the only item on the agenda” of the August 6 Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by Vice-President Namadi Sambo. He said: “His boss, Goodluck Jonathan, was at that time in Washington DC for the United States-African Leaders Summit.”
The correspondent observed that “there is fear in the Vila over the spread of the dreaded Ebola virus.” According to his report on the meeting, “it all started like a joke with some ministers avoiding handshake with their colleagues, journalists and other government officials for the fear of contracting the disease.” He said of the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu: “Apart from regular washing of hands with soap, the minister also encouraged citizens to cultivate the habit of using hand sanitisers. He said he had his own bottle of sanitiser inside his car.” He then said of the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku: “At that point, Maku dipped his hand into the pocket of his agbada and brought out a bottle of sanitiser. To demonstrate it, he and Chukwu rubbed their hands with the substance.”
Now, back to the business of battling the bats and sending them packing from the Villa – supposing this is accomplished by whatever means, would it guarantee an Ebola-free Villa? Speaking of bats, what about the possibility of “human bats”, with the implication of spreading the virus, among other things? By way of information, there is a mysterious creature called the Humanoid Bat, also known as Human Bat or Bat-Thing, which is believed to be either a human that had evolved into a bat-like creature or the other way round. What if such a creature can be found in the corridors of power?
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