Ebola: Odinkalu urges NBA to cancel annual conference

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odinkalu Chairman Governing Council National Human Rights Commission, HNRC, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, has called on Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, to cancel its annual conference slated for Owerri, Imo State over Virus Disease, EVD outbreak in country. Odinkalu in a , yesterday, said “As its contribution to the current to control and manage the health emergency caused by the presence the Virus Disease (EVD) in , the NBA has a to defer its annual conference scheduled to place in Owerri, 24 until 29 August 2014. It will be ill-judged to continue with the conference in the circumstances the present health emergency prevailing in the country. “On August 8, the World Health Organisation, WHO, declared the current outbreak the EVD in West Africa a Health Emergency International Concern, PHEIC. On the same day, ’s Federal Government proclaimed a nation-wide public health emergency for the same reasons. Among control and prevention , both the WHO and discourage large gatherings during this emergency. “In , government at federal and state levels have agreed to extend the current school holidays while are taken to assess the and bring it under control. Section 45(1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution gives government a to reasonable measures to manage rights in the interest of public health. These measures have been taken under this power. They are both lawful and sensible.[eap_ad_2] “The NBA conference is usually a very large gathering. Its venues usually attract well in excess of 20,000 participants, traders and visitors. It’s an excellent place for a virus in search of vectors.” On August 15, the NBA issued a public claiming that it “is putting adequate anti-Ebola precautions for its members attending the 2014 annual general conference in Owerri. It failed to say what these precautions were or who said they were “adequate. “As a result, participants are not in a position to asses independently what risks they run in attending the conference. The most “adequate precaution” the NBA can at this time is to defer the conference. It should do so. If the NBA declines, I would urge government at all levels to strongly request it to do so. “I am a scheduled speaker at the Owerri conference. I have also been a person under observation for Ebola because as an out-patient I was attended on July 21 by one of the doctors in who managed the index case, i.e., on the day after he was admitted. The NBA has no way of knowing this and has made no effort to elicit this kind of information any of the participants. “I have decided that I will not go to Owerri. As an act of responsible citizenship, I would also urge as many intending participants as possible to consider withdrawing the Owerri conference. To address leadership continuity in the association, in the interim, the inauguration of the new leadership of the NBA can take place at a modest ceremony at the NBA secretariat in Abuja.”[eap_ad_3]