News / Africa

Nigerians Threaten to Burn Ebola Units

Poster providing information on the Ebola virus on the door of the Head of Department of Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Aug. 11, 2014.
Poster providing information on the Ebola virus on the door of the Head of Department of Hospital Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Aug. 11, 2014.
Heather Murdock

As fears of Ebola spread across West Africa, some Nigerians are rejecting the idea of building Ebola isolation units in their neighborhoods.

In parts of Nigeria prone to communal violence, locals took to the streets this week, saying they would sooner burn Ebola centers down than allow them to operate.

In many parts of Nigeria, residents say they are more afraid of Ebola than of Boko Haram, the militant group that has killed thousands of people this year alone.

In the northern city of Kaduna Wednesday, where Boko Haram has struck many times, hundreds of people protested plans to convert sections of a local clinic into an Ebola treatment center.

Many carried signs that said: "No Ebola in our hospital."

“They are kicking against it that it should not be situated here.  Not that government should not do what it is supposed to do.  But situating it here is what they are against," said Danjuma Musa, a religious leader in Down Quarters, where the hospital is located.

FILE - Nigeria's Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu speaks at the media briefing on updates about the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria at his office in Abuja, Aug. 14, 2014.FILE - Nigeria's Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu speaks at the media briefing on updates about the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria at his office in Abuja, Aug. 14, 2014.
x
FILE - Nigeria's Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu speaks at the media briefing on updates about the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria at his office in Abuja, Aug. 14, 2014.
FILE - Nigeria's Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu speaks at the media briefing on updates about the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria at his office in Abuja, Aug. 14, 2014.

On Thursday, Nigerian Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu said what the government should and must do is prepare for the possibility of a widespread outbreak regardless of objections he calls “irrational fear.”
 
Nigeria has recorded 15 cases of Ebola and six deaths since the disease came to Nigeria in July.  The World Health Organization said Thursday more than 1,500 people have died since the West Africa outbreak began early this year, nearly all in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.  

Ebola cases and deaths in West Africa, as of Aug. 28, 2014 updateEbola cases and deaths in West Africa, as of Aug. 28, 2014 update
x
Ebola cases and deaths in West Africa, as of Aug. 28, 2014 update
Ebola cases and deaths in West Africa, as of Aug. 28, 2014 update

The outbreak is also growing faster, it said, with 40 percent of new cases recorded in the past 21 days.
 
The health minister says Kaduna residents and other communities that have objected to Ebola centers will be in no danger because patients will not mingle with anyone outside the hospital.
 
“Even family members are not even permitted. You’re a man? Your wife is not even permitted. You’re a woman? Your husband, your children, they are not even permitted. So I don’t know how people now think they will get Ebola because we are treating. In any case, people might as well ask all hospitals be removed from their cities,” said Chukwu.

But protesters say they are not only afraid of the disease spreading.

People stand on the shoreline at West Point, Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 27, 2014.People stand on the shoreline at West Point, Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 27, 2014.
x
People stand on the shoreline at West Point, Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 27, 2014.
People stand on the shoreline at West Point, Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 27, 2014.

Nigerians are watching harrowing scenes from the Liberian capital, Monrovia, where a forced quarantine in a massive city slum has led to deadly clashes between residents and soldiers.

In Kaduna, where thousands of people have died in clashes in the past two decades, political rallies and protests are banned.  Some residents that attended the protest Wednesday say they fear an Ebola center could spark public outrage and more violence. 

“When you look at the number of people that came out yesterday protesting, at least that can trigger something else in the state. But thank God, we did things peacefully,” said Ibrahim Shehu, who chairs the clinic’s board.
 
Business concerns

Other residents say Nigerians are so afraid of Ebola in general, that even if the isolation unit has no patients, its presence will keep people out of the neighborhood, killing their businesses.

“When there is something dangerous nobody will patronize you. People will run away from you,” said Abdullahi Mohammed Barnawa, who sells wood at a market near the clinic.

Like some other Kaduna residents, Barnawa mistakenly believes Ebola is airborne, when in reality it spreads through contact with bodily fluids, making it much harder to catch.

Officials say they are working dispel rumors like this with TV ads, radio jingles and educational flyers, warning that false information can sometimes be as deadly as Ebola.

Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid