This Day (Lagos)

30 July 2014

Nigeria: Ebola - Confusion On Status of Persons in Contact With Victim

Confusion has been trailing the status of persons that had contact with the late Liberian government official, Mr. Patrick Sawyer, who died in Lagos after he was diagnosed of Ebola Virus last Friday.

At the last count, the federal government had recalled about six persons from Calabar for screening in Lagos, including 59 persons, who might have been in contact with the victim.

THISDAY investigation revealed that although the six persons recalled from Calabar to Lagos might be free from the virus, it was not certain if the entire 59 persons, who flew with the victim from Monrovia via Lome to Lagos, had not been infected.

Speaking on the status of the persons that had contact with the victim, the President of Amalgam of Public Health Professionals in Nigeria, Prof. Michael Azuzu, told THISDAY that the delay "has been causing panic in the public space already." However, Azuzu said although there "is panic caused by the delay in getting to know the status of the persons, the government was taking precautionary steps to avoid any other spread of the virus."

He said: "What is mostly needed at this critical moment is vigilance and public enlightenment. Since healthcare experts have taken the blood samples of the people for investigation, the trust now should be on the response of health professionals to any requests made for purposes of preventing the spread of the virus."

Although there is increasing cases of awareness among Nigerians concerning the disease, observers said the confusion trailing the status of persons who might have had contact with the Ebola victim "remains a great source of concerns."

When called yesterday, the Project Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Prof. Abdulsalam Nasidi could not be reached on phone to enable make further clarification and obtain updates on the status of those already isolated.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu had debunked reports that the Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia had contact with the Ebola patient on the plane.

The minister's special assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Dan Nwoweh, made this clarification, revealing that it was the Representative of ECOWAS President in Liberia, Mr. Babatunde Ajisomo.

He explained that the report was a mix-up, insisting that it was the Representative of ECOWAS President in Liberia, who travelled to Nigeria on the same plane with the Ebola victim.

The minister, therefore, clarified that it was not the Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia Mrs. Chigozie Obi-Nnadozie, saying that the report was indeed a mix-up.

A'Ibom Guber Race as Ibibio Elders Endorse Emmanuel

History was recently made in the state as the Ibibio Elders' Forum unanimously resolved to back the governorship aspiration of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Udom Emmanuel, for the growth, unity and sustainable development of the state.

The forum, which is made up of elders from the Ibibio land, on July 25 at the palace of the Chairman of the forum, made this known while playing host to the SSG in Uyo, said they were motivated by what they described as the humane disposition, humility and administrative ingenuity of Emmanuel. Some of the elders, who spoke with journalists, said their decision to support the SSG's aspiration was based on their collective scrutiny and conviction on his personality and capability to run the affairs of the state.

They recalled with joy the superlative performance of Emmanuel in the private sector, which they noted, witnessed unprecedented employment of indigenes of the state in the banking sector, saying "those who got jobs through Emmanuel's assistance have established themselves to the envy of their contemporaries in other states."

The elders maintained that Emmanuel is the only Ibibio son to sit on the Board of African Finance Corporation and remains the highest ranking Akwa Ibom son in present day financial world, wondering "why Akwa Ibom should go to war with a mere recruit when they have a 'General' like Emmanuel."

This was further buttressed by former Minister of Lands and Housing, Chief Nduese Essien when he observed that the present day governors' forum needs someone with sound qualities like Emmanuel to be able to compete and blend effectively with other governors from across the country.

"It is on this basis that the entire Ibibio elders of Akwa Ibom State have realized that we need someone like Udom Emmanuel as Governor, come 2015, because he is the right choice and truly deserves the seat," he opined. In his address, the Chairman of the forum, Dr Okon Akpan Uko, decried the high level of falsehood, bad propaganda/blackmail and the pull down syndrome of Ibibio illustrious sons.

Uko, while extolling the sterling qualities of Emmanuel as overwhelming and convincing, admonished him not to join cultism and remain a man of God that he has always been.

He noted that Emmanuel stands out as the most appropriate and credible candidate for the job and wondered why people think that the incumbent governor should not have a say on who succeeds him after working for the state for eight years on the saddle.

The forum expressed optimism that with the high level of exposure and connections within and outside the shores of the country, the SSG's tenure as governor of the state, would attract direct foreign investments in the state in different areas, which they noted, would ultimately lead to the industrialisation that the people of the state are yearning for.

The high point of the meeting was a prayer by a former First Lady, Mrs Nneyin Isong for Emmanuel to become governor of Akwa Ibom State come 2015.

The meeting had in attendance prominent elders from all the 10 federal constituencies in the state included a member of the South-South People's Assembly, Dr. Emmanuel Akpanobong (Secretary of the forum); Obong Otu Robert; Mr. Billy Etuk; Mr. Ben Udobia; Obong Okokon Etuk; Obong T. O. Akpan, and Dr Cyril Ekiko.

Others were Chief Michael Afangideh; Obonganwan Ebinda; Martyns Udoinyang; Chelly Okoko; Obong Israel Utit; Mrs. Christine Akpan; Obong Isaac Akpakam; Obong Onaidem; Tony Mike; Mr. Esema Esema; Obong Emmanuel Ibiok; Obong Michael Afangideh, and the Chairman of Okobo Local Government Area, Mrs. Felicia Bassey.

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