The Federal Government on Wednesday accused late Mr. Patrick Sawyer of deliberately bringing the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) into the country from his home country, Liberia.
Dropping the hint before the House of Representatives’ Committee on Health over the Ebola outbreak, the minister of health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, disclosed that Sawyer “knew he was sick” with the virus before entering nigeria.
Sawyer was the man that is credited with the first case of EVD in Nigeria.
Chukwu revealed that Sawyer snubbed instructions by the Liberian health authorities not to travel out of the country.
He described the outbreak in the country as a ‘national emergency’, which heightened fears of an outbreak, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the death toll in West Africa has risen to 932.
The new figures from the WHO come Wednesday as authorities in nigeria confirmed the death of a nurse of Ebola.
According to Chukwu, seven Nigerians are already diagnosed with Ebola.
Also speaking before the committee, the project director, nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi, hinted that 70 Nigerians are currently under surveillance for the disease.
Nasidi explained that Sawyer had 70 primary and secondary registered contacts, which include 39 hospital contacts and 21 airport contacts.
Sawyer’s contacts include officers of the State Security Service (SSS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), airport support personnel and medical personnel that attended to him.
Director, Port Health Services in the health ministry, Dr. Sani Gwarzo, added that restrictions have been placed on the repatriation of corpses of Nigerians abroad into the country.
As part of ongoing efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, Gwarzo said that 66 personnel were required by the health ministry to man and screen travellers at the country’s several travel entry points.
Meanwhile, the health minister has faulted reports on the curative powers of bitter kola on Ebola, a claim that is propagated by Prof. Maurice Iwu, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Chukwu, who faulted reports on the curative powers of bitter kola on Ebola, added that Iwu’s experiment was inconclusive.
“No evidence shows that bitter kola will prevent or cure Ebola,” he said.
Earlier, the chairman of the committee, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, said that the committee reconvened to find out how many Nigerians are affected by Ebola.
He added that the committee also wanted to know what the ministry has done to curb the spread.
Pointing out that Ebola is what most Nigerians are currently worried about, Elumelu added that measures must be taken to protect people.