Palpable fear has gripped residents of Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, following news that two suspected Ebola virus disease (EVD) victims had been detected in the state.
This came barely 11 days after a Liberian, Mr. Patrick Sawyer, died in a private hospital in Lagos and his remains were later cremated in the state.
Speaking during a radio programme monitored in Abeokuta, at the weekend, the state Acting Epidemiologist, Dr. Yusuph Akeem, confirmed that two suspected victims were on surveillance in the state.
According to him, the state Ministry of Health was already in possession of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the suspected victims. He also stated that the victims resided in the state but worked in Lagos State.
The state Director of Public Health, Dr. Yusuph Qudus, has revealed that the health officials in the state had been holding series of meetings with their counterparts in Lagos and at the federal level to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
In a related development, Federal and Lagos State health officials have visited the General Overseer of The Synagogue Church of All Nations, Prophet Temitope Joshua, as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the country.
The delegation, led by Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, offered to work with the health team of the church in the areas of technical assistance, medical advice and training to ensure that no victim of the deadly disease resorted to the church from any of the affected countries undetected in search of cure.
The commissioner said the delegation decided to pay the visit to the church because of the recognition that it was an international Christian centre, which congregation comprised people from all over the world, including countries of the West African sub-Region already affected by the Ebola disease.
Idris said the visit was one of government’s strategies of sensitising faith-based organisations on the need to cooperate with the government to prevent the spread of the disease in the country by educating their members.
He explained that the Federal and the Lagos State government were working hard on how to prevent the spread of the virus to the country.
He said: “We have our strategies that we intend to share with you. Again, we need to know the resources you have here, because whether it is one or two cases, if they are allowed to get out, it is a major problem. We are here to work together on how to contain this disease.”
Also speaking, the Director, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, Professor Abdulsalami Nasidi, said the visit was to inform The Synagogue leader of the deadly nature of the Ebola virus and to ensure it did not spread in the country.
Responding, Prophet Joshua promised to work with the government to ensure that the disease did not spread to the country.
The clergyman, revered for his healing powers, said he would put some measures in place to ensure that people from the already affected countries did not enter Nigeria.
One of such measures, he said, was to visit any of the countries when necessary rather than allowing their residents come into Nigeria.
He also promised to suspend some of his major healing programmes for a few weeks, adding, “I am ready to work with you. I love my country and I will be ready to work with you.
Even if it is a rumour, there is need to secure our environment to ensure that it is safe.”