The United States of America (USA) has reiterated its commitment to support Nigeria’s efforts towards containing further spread of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), particularly from the nation’s ports.
The US Consular General, Mr Jeffrey Hawkins who made the statement, during a visit to the Marina Headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), also said he was satisfied with the proactive measures the NPA management had adopted, so as to prevent new development in the ports, while the identified cases were being combated.
Speaking while he was being received by the Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi ,Mr Jeffrey Hawkins said he was essentially concerned with ports, because of its strategic economic importance as gate way for the entire business community.
Describing the NPA efforts as “reassuring and genuine’’.the US Consular General emphasized that the American Government was ready to collaborate with Nigeria, which was why the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has some experts on ground in the country.
He also maintained that they were ready to work with the Port Authority on how to handle and control any suspected case of EVD, notingr that the efforts would equally translate into a much safer ports in Nigeria, while urging for a more strict protocol of getting sick people into isolation to enable health officials check on them and every other person they make contact with.
The Managing Director, Malam Habib meanwhile has assured, while welcoming the Consular General to his office , that all relevant departments off the port, alongside other Government agencies like the Medical, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) the Ports Health, the Federal Ministry of Health and Lagos State Ministry of Health have been placed on the red alert for preventive and curative measure in case of any suspected EVD case in the Port.
He said Port Health officials were always the first to enter vessels and conduct checks before other legitimate officials like Customs, Immigration etc. are allowed on board, and stressed that the number of people who board the vessels have been reduced drastically.
Malam Abdullahi also noted that since Nigeria do not operate cruise ships and hardly receive vessels from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea for now, the possibility of passengers with the EVD coming in through the port was very lo,w, thereby allaying fears that likely carriers of the deadly virus would slip through the ports into the country.
In company of the American Consul General, was the Political and Economic Officer Mr. Nicholas Austin, while with the NPA Managing Director were, the General Manager Western Zone , Miss Adenike \Sonaike, Port Manager Lagos Ports Complex, Malam Anas Nasir ,Port Manager of Tin Can Island Port Mr Babatunde Longe and the Asst. General Manager Medical Services Dr. (Mrs) C. A. Abama among others.