Nigeria risks Ebola virus out­break with por­ous borders – Min­is­ter

Law school stu­dent found hang­ing in ho­tel room

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Judd Leonard Okafor, Abuja & Kate da Costa, Ac­cra, Ghana

Por­ous land borders and ex­po­sure of health work­ers in Nigeria are sources of worry to the author­ity of pos­si­ble out­break of the Ebola dis­ease.

More than 83 people have died of the dis­ease in less than two weeks of out­break in­clud­ing two deaths re­ported lately in Liberia and one in Ghana-af­ter the out­break started in Guinea Gam­bia, and Sierra Leone.

How­ever, Ghana­ian au­thor­i­ties yes­ter­day de­nied the ex­is­tence of the dreaded dis­ease in the coun­try.

The Ghana Min­istry of Health said the test re­sult of the blood sam­ple of a sus­pected vic­tim proved neg­a­tive. A 30-year-old stu­dent of the Nige­rian Law School, Abuja, has al­legedly com­mit­ted sui­cide in his na­tive Taraba State. Auwal Haruna was said to have hanged him­self yes­ter­day from the ceil­ing fan in his ho­tel room in Takum.

The Taraba Po­lice Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, Joseph Kwaji, con­firmed the in­ci­dent to jour­nal­ists in Jalingo yes­ter­day, say­ing the mat­ter is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the body of the de­ceased was found dan­gling from a

The blood sam­ple of a 12-year old girl was taken to the Nougouchi me­mo­rial in­sti­tute, Ku­masi for in­ves­ti­ga­tion, be­cause she ex­hib­ited symp­toms sim­i­lar to the Ebola virus.

The Nige­rian Health min­is­ter Onye­buchi Chukwu ad­dress­ing news­men in Abuja yes­ter­day said there was “cause for anx­i­ety for many rea­sons.”

Nigeria is con­tigu­ous with other coun­tries con­tigu­ous to the states al­ready named, he said.

“Nige­ri­ans travel a lot and it is easy to mon­i­tor what hap­pens through ports but it is a chal­lenge when it comes to our land borders,” the min­is­ter noted.

This comes amidst anx­i­ety over vec­tor-borne dis­eases, which cur­rently ceil­ing fan at a Guest Inn in Takum. He said the de­ceased, un­til his death, was a sus­pect in a case of mur­der in­volv­ing his younger brother, Ahmed, who al­legedly con­nived with their mother, Aisha, to mur­der their fa­ther, Haruna Mo­hammed. He said the de­ceased’s brother (Ahmed) 27, was be­ing de­tained for ab­duct­ing and hang­ing his fa­ther to death in the sub­urb of Gembu over his fa­ther’s al­leged mar­riage of a sec­ond wife against the wishes of his wife.

There is an up­surge in sui­cide cases af­fects mil­lions of Nige­ri­ans and be­came the theme for this year’s World Health Day.

He said health work­ers were usu­ally in first line of dan­gers be­cause “in our anx­i­ety to help oth­ers we fail to heed uni­ver­sal pre­cau­tions.”

Chukwu said the ru­moured lone sus­pected case of Ebola last week, later con­firmed to be Dengue fever, was “ne­ces­sity for us to be very vig­i­lant.

Nigeria isn’t new to haem­or­rhagic fevers as Yel­low fever and Dengue and Lassa fever, but Ebola is con­sid­ered the most vir­u­lent of them, killing nine out of 10 people it in­fects.

At least half the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion is prone to dis­eases borne in Taraba which Mr. Kwaji, an As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice, at­trib­uted the in­crease in cases of sui­cide to drug abuse and frus­tra­tion.

“Most of these young men com­mit sui­cide as a re­sult of drug abuse and frus­tra­tion in life. Sui­cide is not the so­lu­tion to our prob­lems. Killing one­self is not only con­trary to the laws of the land, but also against our reli­gions,’’ Mr. Kwaji said. Two in­ci­dents of sui­cide were recorded in Jalingo in Fe­bru­ary. by vec­tors they make daily con­tact with-in­clud­ing in­sects, snails and mam­mals, which har­bour micro­organ­isms that cause any­thing from malaria and fevers to blind­ness.

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion es­ti­mates Nigeria has more than 25% of Africa’s bur­den of vec­tor­borne dis­ease, said Dr. Ruiz Gama Vaz, WHO coun­try rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Nigeria.

“We can pro­tect our­selves and our fam­i­lies by sim­ple mea­sures as keep­ing our en­vi­ron­ment clean and less con­ducive to vec­tor breed­ing and sur­vival,” he said.

The vec­tors “ex­ist in our com­mu­nity as we can do a lot to stop them,” said Ifeoma Anag­bogu, co­or­di­na­tor of Nigeria Guinea-worm Erad­i­ca­tion Pro­gramme.

One in­volved a 400-Level stu­dent of the Taraba Univer­sity, Fri­day Sam­son, 32, who poi­soned him­self to death over lack of funds to pay his school fees. The other in­ci­dent in­volved a watch­man, Saidu Babura, 45, who hanged him­self on a tree at Has­san Pri­mary School, Jalingo, af­ter an al­leged bat­tle against drug abuse. In Jan­uary, 21-year-old Mansur Tanko burnt him­self to death in Jalingo be­cause his fa­ther, Tanko Mi­jinyawa, al­legedly re­fused to ap­prove of his plan to marry. (NAN)


From right: Kaduna State Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Al­haji Umar Shehu, Deputy In­spec­tor-Gen­eral Michael Zuoku­mor and Com­mis­sioner for Counter Ter­ror­ism Mr. Sotonye Leroy Wakama, dur­ing a peace and se­cu­rity meet­ing with Fu­la­nis and farm­ers in Kaduna yes­ter­day.

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