Now, I suppose the current declaration by World Health Organization (WHO) confirming Nigeria free of Ebola on Monday after six weeks with no new cases, will clear the air on issue of seeing Nigerians as Ebola victims. “Nigeria is now free of Ebola,” WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz told a news conference in the capital Abuja, prompting a round of applause from other officials.
According BBC News, Rui Gama stated that “This is a spectacular success story … But we must be clear that we have only won a battle, the war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola.”
Since Ebola outbreak, I have read stories of how the passengers on the flights coming from West African Countries have been mistreated as though they were lepers all because of Ebola. Segregating and isolating them for special inspection at various international airports across the world. It is quite disheartening I must tell you, but on a second thought I do not blame them, they are only trying to apply precautionary measures in order to contain the spread of the deadly disease.
Furthermore, we all aware of divers insinuations and sweeping statement made by Donald Trump, popular American Businessman agigating for the diversion of flights en route to US from West African Countries. In one of his tweets, he even referred to President Obama as “Moron or foolish” I cant remember the exact word he used for him, for refusing to listen to his advice and permit West African fights to gain entrance into this US. All these overreaction are baseless and uncalled for. Besides, West African Countries that have been ravaged with Ebola are just victims of circumstances. Certainly, it is not because of their ‘iniqiuity’ or ‘sin’ that has brought the scourge upon their lands.
However, the inability of human beings to be objective particularly in our reactions to critical situation such as this, can bring about unnecessary animosity. I tell you, a lot of Nigerians, did not take Trump’s comments lightly, and trust Nigerians, ‘dem no dey carry last’ they gave him back in full dose. I read couples of their comments too, which ordinarily I had thought it wasn’t necessary, because silent they say is golden! And the best answer for a fool is silence.
Still fresh in my memory, the case of ‘Avian/Bird Flu’ that suddenly hit the world in the early 2000, did not come from West Africa. I could remember the first case of Avian flu reported was in China. And subsequently spread to other parts of Asia region. Now, Avian Flu is history, and many of these ‘attackers’ and ‘haters’ have forgotten that epidemic is not synonymous to a particular continent but rather it could just happen anywhere.
Just couple of days back, a friend of mine, who had been scheduled to participate in Bussiness summit in Ireland this October was denied visa on the grounds that Nigeria has not been declared free of Ebola, in other words, he might not be able to enter Ireland.
When he narrated the ordeal to me, I was furious as an activist, I know what I could have done supposing it’s a local issue. But there was nothing I could do since it is their country, they decide who goes in and come out. I can only come online, put down my grievances on my blog like I usually do, for the whole world to read and see how Nigerians have been discriminated against simply because Ebola has killed just only 8 Nigerians since the day that Liberian man brought the deadly disease into the country.
Another incidence of student visa denial happened to a Nigerian Student who had just been given admission in one of the Universities in the US, only for him to receive another letter stating that his admission has been withdrawn. The reason for the sudden change was never communicated to him till now. And I know reason is not far from the fear of Ebola. I could only hope and pray everything be restored to normalcy with the WHO’s declaration.