Nigeria Warns against Stigmatisation of Citizens of Ebola-hit Countries

Deputy Head of Mission, Nigerian High Commission in Ethiopia, Ambassador Peter Iyamabo, has cautioned against stigmatising citizens of countries affected by the Ebola virus under the guise of “precautionary measures.’’

The ambassador gave the advice on Monday in Addis Ababa at an AU Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) session on information sharing on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Iyamabo acknowledged that the outbreak of Ebola, which had killed more than 1000 persons in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, posed serious danger for the international community.

He however said that “ some responses to the pandemic have tended to be rather inappropriate and inconsistent with standard global practices.

“Adopting measures that stigmatise citizens of countries affected by such emergencies will not yield any positive result in keeping with traditional African solidarity,’’ he added.

 He said that additional steps considered by countries beyond the standard medical precaution of verifying that individual travellers did not present a risk of importing the virus was not acceptable.

“Such additional steps by countries could tantamount to discrimination and stigmatisation, and the consequences of such steps and actions can negatively affect inter-state relations long after we dealt with the pandemic.’’

The envoy told the AUPRC session that Nigeria had taken adequate measures to contain the spread of the virus.

He said the Nigerian Government had embarked on extensive training of 800 health workers on how to handle the virus.

The envoy said the Nigerian Government was evaluating a sample of drug provided by a Nigerian scientist for the treatment of the virus.

He called on the African private sector to emulate Nigerian Businessman, Aliko Dangote, who had donated 1 million dollars to halt the spread of Ebola in Nigeria.

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