LAGOS – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Saturday told the Federal Government to give urgent support to West African countries being ravaged by the Ebola virus to ensure the safety of the sub-region.
The Vice-President of the NLC, Mr Issa Aremu, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Aremu said that Nigeria could not be said to be totally free of Ebola, if its neighbouring countries were still facing the scourge of the disease.
According to him, the rate in which the disease ravages some countries in the sub-region portends danger to Nigeria.
He said that government’s assistance to the Ebola-ravaged countries would not only show Nigeria’s sense of solidarity and commitment, but would affirm Nigeria’s status as “giant of Africa’’.
Aremu noted that if Cuba could send the highest number of medical contingent to Sierra Leone, then Nigeria could do more being the biggest black nation in the world.
“Nigeria cannot be said to be free and safe if the virus continued to ravage the sister nations.
“We want the country to use all the resources it used to curtail the spread of Ebola in the country to help eliminate the scourge in Liberia and other neighbouring countries.
“We cannot say we are whole when our sister countries are unsafe, being threatened by the virus. An injury to one is an injury to all of us.
“I am happy to hear from the minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, that Nigeria is already putting some financial resources to help them overcome.
“Both money and human resources are needed to put a stop to the dreaded disease in the affected countries.
“The key issues that helped us overcome are the mobilisation of medical personnel and strong medical prescriptions, so what we do here we have to do it for our neighbours.
“May be, if Nigeria had been more proactive earlier, we could have helped Liberia–where the virus started– to overcome it.’’
Aremu urged government to see the fight against Ebola in other countries in the same light as the struggle for the independence of some African nations during the colonial period.
He said that the philosophy of African forefathers was that the independence of their countries was not sustainable until other African nations got theirs.
NAN recalls that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had on Oct. 20 declared Nigeria as an Ebola-free country.
On Saturday, WHO said that “the death toll from the Ebola epidemic rose to 4,922 out of 10,141 known cases in eight countries through Oct. 23.
“The virus, which reached Mali through a two-year-old girl, who died on Friday, now threatens Ivory Coast, having infected people virtually along its borders with Guinea and Liberia.
“Ivory Coast is the world’s biggest cocoa producer. The Ebola outbreak has hurt the economic growth that has been raising living standards in the region.
“The three worst-hit countries of West Africa– Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone– account for the bulk of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak, recording 4,912 deaths out of 10,114 cases,” WHO said in its latest update. (NAN)