Despite Nigeria being declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization and Ghana totally avoiding the deadly disease altogether, nine students from both countries who were travelling from Lagos to the Commonwealth of Dominica in the Caribbean were barred from entry to Saint Martin after a 22-hour flight, a stop en route to Dominica. This rejection came after the students showed evidence that they tested negative for the virus. None of the nine, who came from both Nigeria and Ghana, were ever even exposed to infected persons. Sahara Reporters report that rather than finish the journey, the students were sent back to Nigeria, first flown to Panama, then Brazil, then Togo, then Nigeria this past Wednesday. A trip of 22 hours ballooned into a nightmarish five-day ordeal, with the return trip costing students N575,000. During the period, the teenagers slept in airport lobbies unattended, without any amenities. Neither the parents nor the school were notified of the developments.
Attempts to reach Saint Martin officials were met with conflicting results with some officials stating that there was a travel ban on West African countries while others disagreed. The Dominican Government has however made it clear there was no travel ban on any country.
Though the students have since returned home, parents tell Sahara Reporters that they are still working with All Saints Medical School to determine how these students can return to start school, and if students can be reimbursed for the return trip. Parents say they expect an answer on Monday, yet continue to request an official explanation from officials in St. Martin.
“We demand answers and an apology,” parents said.