Vanguard (Lagos)

27 August 2014

Nigeria: Ebola - Jonathan Decries Stigmatisation of Nigerians By Some Countries

Photo: Unicef
Special material was developed to support community outreach activities to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Wednesday in Abuja condemned the stigmatization of Nigerians by some countries over recent cases of the Ebola Virus Disease in the country.

Speaking at a meeting with Mr. David Navarro, a Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General, President Jonathan particularly denounced discriminatory actions such as that which forced Nigeria's team to the Youth Olympics in China to abandon its participation.

Noting that there was no justification for such stigmatization of Nigerians since the Ebola Virus Disease had been effectively contained in the country and never attained epidemic levels, the President called for the cessation of discriminatory actions against Nigerians over the virus and urged the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon to support the call.

Responding to the Secretary General's commendation of Nigeria's management of the threat of Ebola, President 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.

"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 told Mr. Navarro.

The President assured the Special Envoy that in spite of the seeming success of its containment measures, the Federal Government and its agencies will remain vigilant to guard against further cases of Ebola in the country.

"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," President Jonathan pledged.

Mr. Navarro who had visited Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the countries worst hit by Ebola before coming to Nigeria, told the President that he had come, on the instruction of the UN Secretary-General, to applaud Nigeria's successful containment of the virus.

"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," Mr. Navarro told the President.

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