26 May 2017

Nigeria: Ebola - FG, Lagos Query Kenya Airways Over Corpse Repatriation

The Federal and Lagos State Governments are seeking sanctions against Kenya Airways for conveying a corpse from the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, without necessary approval even as laboratory test conducted on the body revealed that the cause of death was not Ebola Virus disease.

Also, contrary to speculations that the corpse was brought to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, the Management said the body was not taken to LUTH but quarantine at the airport.

Reacting to the development on his twitter handle, the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole who paid an unscheduled assessment visit to the Muritala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos to assess Port Health preparedness against bio-threats, ordered immediate review and replacement of current hand-held screeners with auto thermal ones.

The Minister said: "I also recommended sanctions for Kenya Airways."

However, at a joint press conference in Lagos, representative of the Minister of Health, Dr. Joshua Obasanya also said a letter of investigation had been forward to Kenya Airline to explain why the airline flew a corpse from DRC into Nigeria without the necessary approval.

Speaking the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said Kenya airline conveyed the deceased to Nigeria against the extant regulation.

According to him, the airline brought the remains of the Nigerian without all necessary documentations that are required to process its clearance by the Department of Port Health Services, Federal Ministry of Health.

Condemning the action of the airline, Idris said: "In line with industry practice, a report has been made to the Nigerian Civil Aviation, the regulatory agency of the Nigerian aviation industry on the occurrence. Necessary steps are being taken by the regulatory authority to sanction the airline in a bid to prevent future occurrence. We have commenced detailed investigation by all relevant agencies of government to determine the immediate and remote intentions of this unfortunate behaviour."

Idris recalled that the Federal Government instituted a ban on the repatriation of human remains into the country in all points of entry as a precautionary measure to avoid importation of any infectious disease, saying that the ban was one of the interventions the nation undertook during the Ebola outbreak.

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