Ebola Outbreak: Lagos State pushes for closure of borders with neigbouring West African countries

Worried about the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the West African sub-region, the Lagos State Government has been making efforts to reach out to the federal government to close the nation’s borders with neigbouring West African countries for a period until the deadly infection has been brought under control.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) over the weekend had declared that the EVD had spiralled out of control.

Sources close to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State informed that there were frantic efforts by the governor to contact President Goodluck Jonathan before his departure to the United States on Saturday night to discuss the option of closing the borders with other West African countries.

The sources however said the president could not be reached before he flew out of the country to Washington DC for the African Leadership Summit due to commence today.

Although the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, had said the federal government was not contemplating the closure of borders, the Lagos State Government held the view that their closure might become imperative given the reports of the return of bodies of persons suspected to have died from the virus in some neigbouring West African countries.
“We have a growing number of cases where bodies of relations who may have died of the Ebola disease are being transported home through the borders for burial here in Nigeria, in accordance with the cultural demands of bringing corpses home.

“We fear that if this is unchecked, it could promote the spread of the infection, especially if the dead persons were victims of the EVD infection,” one source close to the governor said.
Sources in the state further explained that it had become expedient for the federal government to take the effect of the spread of the disease seriously and regard it as a “national security” matter, which should override all other commercial and treaty obligations with Nigeria’s West African neighbours.

They expressed concern that “should Ebola virus spread in a densely populated city like Lagos, it would be difficult to control”.

The sources added that the federal government would need to reach out to families of EVD victims in neighbouring countries and advise them to suspend bringing home the bodies of relations for burial.

“They should be educated that it is safer for bodies of EVD victims to be cremated in the countries where they died, and save others the risk of contracting the disease if the bodies are brought back to Nigeria,” an aide of the governor said.
The aide also made reference to the Anambra State incident last week when the state government ordered the closure of a hospital in Awka where the body of a man living in Liberia was deposited in the hospital’s morgue, preparatory for burial.

The Anambra State Government had explained that although no test had confirmed that the man died of EVD, it needed to take precautionary measures to protect the rest of society.


  1. It's better to avoid an outbreak of the epidemic


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