News / Africa

Nigeria President Unhappy with Ebola Stigmatization

FILE - Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the State Department in Washington, Aug. 6, 2014.
FILE - Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the State Department in Washington, Aug. 6, 2014.
Peter Clottey

Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan Wednesday condemned the stigmatization of Nigerians travelling abroad, due to the recent outbreak of Ebola in the country.

In a meeting with David Nabarro, Special Envoy of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, Jonathan said there was no justification for such stigmatization, since his administration has made significant efforts to contain the disease. He specifically expressed concern about actions at the Youth Olympics in China.

“President Jonathan pointed out that it is unfortunate that there have been attempts by some countries to stigmatize Nigerians when they travel abroad,” said presidentials spokesman Reuben Abati. “When our youth team went for sporting competition in China, they were prevented from taking part in that event and they had to return home and the Nigerian government felt very bad about it and President Jonathan drew attention to what happened in China.”

Four countries in West Africa including Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria are battling the Ebola disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the total number of probable and confirmed cases in the current outbreak of Ebola virus disease is 3,069, with 1,552 deaths. The WHO also said the disease could affect about 20,000 people before the crisis is over.

Abati said the government has been successful in preventing the Ebola outbreak from becoming an epidemic.

“The commendation by the United Nations, clearly shows that Nigeria has done very well in controlling and containing the spread of the virus after the index case that occurred here,” said Abati.                                        

Local media quoted Nabarro as praising Nigeria’s effort to contain the outbreak.

“The secretary-general asked me to come here too, not because you have an Ebola problem, but because you have tackled it in an exemplary fashion… Your personal leadership on the matter has been key," he said. "There may still be some work to be done before the virus is completely cleared out from here, but other countries can learn from your fine example.”

Abati said Jonathan assured the special U.N. envoy that his administration will continue with efforts to eradicate Ebola.

He said the government in Abuja will soon contact countries that are alleged to have attempted to stigmatize citizens to resolve any concerns.

“I believe that the statement by President Jonathan would be the first step in drawing international attention to the attempts by some countries to stigmatize citizens of other countries,” said Abati.

“We do not expect that, with the level of information that is available on the Nigerian situation, other countries would go out of their way to stigmatize Nigerians. Because effectively in Nigeria, the government has been able to control and contain the spread of the virus,” he said.

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by: Chuzymatics from: Nigeria
August 29, 2014 6:59 AM
A friend in need is a friend indeed. Events have shown that China is only interested in Africa's resources and abandons her when tragedy strikes. We did not stigmatize them when they had SARS

by: bob from: Chad
August 29, 2014 3:47 AM
Ridiculous. This is not an "us" versus "them" issue and it is not about who you are (liberian, Nigerian, Congolese). This is about a very serious virus that everyone should be concerned about and measures need to be taken to stop the spread. DO NOT turn this into some sort of race issue or stigmatization. That is backward thinking and does not resolve the real issue
In Response

by: bob from: chad
August 30, 2014 10:20 AM
In response to Chidi. First of all I am not sure what you are really trying to say. Your president is avoiding the issue and throwing blame at others. The problem here is the virus. Deal with the Virus. So far it is not contained. It has spread to Port Harcourt and it has spread to Senegal. Would you call that "contained?" I would not! Therefore, each country in the world should be concerned. This is not about discrimination or stigmatization. This is about isolating the problem and destroying it or curing it. The borders in Africa and in many other areas of the world are porous. A simple bribe here or there or a paddle across the lake gets you in or out of a country. WHO, and others are trying to help the affected countries but you cannot allow everyone to wonder all over the place if there is a possibility of contamination and a spread of that contamination. It does not make sense. Again this is a reality check.. This is like the black plague many years ago.. IF NOT CONTAINED it will kill many more. Is that what you or any one else wants? I don't think so
In Response

by: Chidi Desmond from: Abuja
August 29, 2014 7:16 AM
Mr Bob some one like you that came from a small country Chad that any thing can befall on your country tomorrow and you will need the help from other countries is the one that comes up here to say that what my President is saying about isolation is not true,and you are encourage isolation,it is not every body in Nigeria that has Ebola,at of 170 million people we are just having 5 deaths so far,is this enough to isolate the remaing 160 some thing million other people from traveling?

We know that with adequate preventive measures that Ebola doesn't spread like that,you could have advised your Government for proper sanitation of your borders and airports,other well and important countries has not even restricted people from traveling to there country and not to talk much more about your countries,westerns and Americans that are not our brothers are looking for ways to help,and you that it is your brothers that are affected,Africans,and you have the wicked mind to say this,i am highly disappointed in you.

by: Edith from: Ireland
August 28, 2014 9:30 PM
Cleaning, hygiene, safety regulations, disinfectant and decontamination is the key to any virus and decease clearance. Mr president, contact Edicharward, we always have our card placed on the table, meaning we are very transparent.
In Response

by: Ola from: Lagos
August 29, 2014 9:29 AM
Thank you Edith but it might interest you that You just stated what a primary school pupil (child) from anywhere in Nigeria would educate anyone about viruses and diseases. The news is all about stigmatization and its clear that Nigeria should not be stigmatized. The world should start accepting us coefficient of Africa in sustainability of science and economic survival in the ecosystem. Love Nigerians, embrace Africa, we love you too. Mwah!! Take it!

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