South-West governors on Wednesday rose from a meeting in Lagos and called on the Federal Government to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
Before that, the Minsiter of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu and the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, announced at separate news conferences that the matron of the Lagos hospital where a Liberian-born American, Patrick Sawyer, was admitted, died on Tuesday afternoon.
The matron whose name was not given by Chukwu,and Idris, was reported by the media on Wednesday to have shown the symptoms of the virus.
She was among the health workers that attended to Sawyer who died in the Lagos hospital on July 25 and officially, the first Nigerian casualty.
The matron had been quarantined alongside seven others at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Yaba, Lagos for close monitoring.
One of them, a female medical doctor, who also attended to Sawyer, had also contracted the disease.
About 59 people were reported to have had direct or primary contacts with the Liberian-American. Twenty seven others who had secondary contacts with the primary contacts had been traced.
Chukwu, while announcing the death of the Lagos matron confirmed seven other Ebola cases, Idris called on religious groups in the state to stop all gatherings until a solution to Ebola outbreak was found.
The South-West governors first met behind closed-doors at the Lagos House, Ikeja, and later with commissioners for Health in the zone.
In attendance were the host Governor, Babatunde Fashola; Olusegun Mimiko(Ondo); Ibikunle Amosun(Ogun); Kayode Fayemi(Ekiti); and the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Moses Adeyemo.
They said the Federal Government must assist the states by ensuring that all the nation’s borders in the zone were effectively policed to ensure that Ebola virus did not get into their states.
Fashola, at a news conference said the meeting afforded them the opportunity to share experiences and seek collaborative efforts to prevent the spread of the virus in the zone.
He said, “The meeting addressed issues of containment and the challenges of illegal borders.
“We also discussed possible support by the Federal Government and coordination among states. We feel that it is imperative that our collaboration suggests to us that Nigerians should not panic and that we would overcome this with the very best practices and collaboration.
“It is important therefore that advocacy must continue about what the risks are and the sources are.”
Amosun said Ogun State was overwhelmed and was short of manpower and material to effectively man its over 100 illegal borders where foreigners enter the state with ease.
He said, “We are more prone and more at risk to Ebola virus and we have put all our security agencies and the respective medics at these illegal borders.
“But when you have in excess of 100, you and I know that the state doesn’t have the capacity to man these borders.
Mimiko said the onus lay on every Nigerian to ensure that foreigners did not have unfettered access into the country.
“Every Nigerian should know that those who aid and abet illegal entry into Nigeria now could be up to something that could be dangerous to the health of the country.”
Fayemi spoke on the possibility of Nigeria seeking the assistance of the United States for ZMapp, an experimental drug for the treatment of the EVD.
He said, “The drug has not been certified as a cure for the disease; however, the Federal Government can try out its efficacy in a controlled centre.”