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FG should close borders, ban flights over Ebola – Poll

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Nigerians are of the opinion that the Federal
Government should take it’s fight against the Ebola
virus disease a step further by closing its borders,
and banning flights from countries where there is an

The EVD, which first broke out in Guinea, has been
declared by the World Health Organisation as “an
international public health emergency that requires
an extraordinary response to stop its spread.”

The outcome of the MONTY ONLINE EXTRA poll,
indeed, tows the line of the WHO, indicating that a
more aggressive step needs be taken to check its
spread in Nigeria.

Respondents were asked the question, ‘How do you
think the Federal Government should tackle the Ebola
Virus saga?’

The poll, which opened for voting on August 6, 2014
presented respondents with three options – ‘Close
the borders’, ‘Ban flights from some countries’ and

Eight hundred and ninety two respondents
participated in the poll, which ended on August 20,

The poll showed that 104 respondents, representing
11 per cent, believe that the FG should take a step
further by closing the borders.

On the other hand, 112 respondents, representing 14
per cent, believe flights from Ebola-hit nations should
be banned.

Conversely, 666 respondents, representing 75 per
cent, government should implement a two-prong
approach – close the borders, and ban flights from
Ebola-hit countries.

Understandably, just as the country is still grappling
with the Boko Haram insurgency, more than 200
schoolgirls still in captivity amidst other problems,
the Ebola outbreak is the least the country needs.

To express his apparent frustration, President
Jonathan, while approving the release of N1.9bn to
implement a Special Intervention Plan could not help
but describe the late Patrick Sawyer, Liberian-
American who brought the virus to Nigeria, as a
“crazy man”.

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, believes
that more needs to be done to contain its spread.
He said, “I think what the Federal Government should
do is to consider closing down some of our borders.

We must make that choice and consider it very
seriously. It is a national security issue and I think
that we should give it that attention. I think that men
and women who man our border posts – sea, air and
land -especially the customs, now know that they are
our first line of defence. It is prevention, rather than
calling the health professionals to quarantine people,
that is really the strongest defence against the virus.”

So far, 1,229 people in West Africa have died. Kenya
recently upped the ante, when it said it was closing
its borders to travellers from Ebola-hit nations,
particularly Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Cameroon has closed its land, sea and air borders
with Nigeria.

Five people have died of Ebola in Nigeria, a number
of others still under surveillance, but the Minister of
Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said that he will
be the last person to suggest the closure of the
borders as part of efforts to check the spread of the
Ebola virus.

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