Ebola: Jonathan condemns discrimination against Nigerians
President Goodluck Jonathan condemned yesterday the stigmatisation and discrimination against Nigerians overseas over the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
He condemned the trend while receiving a Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, on Ebola Virus, Dr. David Navarro, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Jonathan, according to a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, recalled the incident which forced Nigeria’s team to the Youth Olympics in China to abandon its participation due to stigmatisation.
He said there was no justification for such stigmatisation of Nigerians since the Ebola Virus Disease had been effectively contained in the country and has never attained epidemic level in the country.
The President called for the cessation of such discriminatory actions against Nigerians over the virus.
Responding to the Secretary General’s commendation of Nigeria’s management of the threat of Ebola, Jonathan praised the Federal Ministry of Health, the Lagos State Government and all Nigerians for the success achieved so far in containing the virus and avoiding a national epidemic.
He said: “All hands have been on deck to contain the virus here. I commend my team and the Lagos State Government. We have been able to set politics aside and work in unison to deal with a national threat.”
“All other Nigerians have played a part too by complying with the directives and advice we have issued to stop the virus from spreading any further. The success we have had is a testimony to what we can achieve as people if we set aside our differences and work together.”
He assured the Special Envoy that in spite of the success of its containment measures, the Federal Government and its agencies would remain vigilant to guard against further cases of Ebola.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and we will also support other affected African countries as much as we can because we cannot be completely safe from the virus as long as it continues to ravage some countries in our sub-region and continent. We will continue to work with the international community to curb the outbreak in other countries,” he said
Mr. Navarro, who had visited Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, three countries worst hit by Ebola before coming to Nigeria, told the President that he came on the instruction of the UN Secretary-General to applaud Nigeria’s successful containment of the virus.
He said: “The Secretary-General asked me to come here too, not because you have an Ebola problem, but because you have tackled it in an exemplary fashion.
“Your personal leadership on the matter has been key. There may still be some work to be done before the virus is completely cleared out from here, but other countries can learn from your fine example.”
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Navarro praised Nigeria for containing the Ebola Virus Disease.
He said: “I have discussed with the President the result of my mission in other countries in the region and we also examined the situation of Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria.”
“The point I made to the President of Nigeria is that this country and its people have performed excellently in their response to Ebola Virus Disease.”
“It has been a whole of country effort. The whole of the society has been involved and the correct procedures are being adopted.” He said
He warned that there would always be outbreaks of dangerous diseases in the world because of globalisation, free movement between countries and between communities, and because viruses move from the animal kingdom to the human population.
He said: “The good public health techniques and the full involvement of all of society, strong leadership by all, whatever their political party, can lead to successful control effort.
“We of course regret that some people lost their lives. There may be someone who got sick and died as a result of this current Ebola insertion into Nigeria but I am confident that the government and the people are responding in a proper way and to ensure that the situation is kept under control by the way they are paying full attention to the people’s rights and entitlement.
“So thank you minister and through the media I would also want to thank the people, the government, civil society groups, doctors, nurses communities workers it has been a team effort and it is has been done well and I hope will continue go on well because there may be one or two cases but they will be dealt with.”
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