Nigeria: 250 Ebola ‘Volunteers’ Return Amidst Jubilation

A World Health Organization, WHO, worker, center, trains nurses to use Ebola protective gear in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. Shoppers crowded streets and markets in Sierra Leone's capital on Thursday stocking up for a three-day shutdown that authorities will hope will slow the spread of the Ebola outbreak that is accelerating across West Africa. (AP Photo/ Michael Duff)

The 250 Nigerian volunteers who were drafted to assist in containing Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in some African countries including Liberia and Sierra Leone have returned amidst jubilation. The volunteers whom, many described as heroes and heroine came into Nigeria in the early hours of Sunday morning (2.38 am) in a chartered Ethiopia airplane through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

They were received by the Minister of Health, Khalliru Alhassan, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Linus Awute and other top officials of the ministry including anxious journalists who were there to witness their arrival. Speaking during a brief ceremony to welcome the contingent, Alhassan said: ” To me, this is a classical example of victory, victory over a disease whose morbidity and mortality is noted to be too high for mankind.

“Not only did we contain it in Nigeria, but through the patriotic devotion of Mr. President and entire workforce that make up the health sector of Nigeria, we are able to contain the disease in Nigeria, and we are able to take the war through the grace of Mr. President to other sister nations where the disease was endemic. “Today, the victory that is being showcased here is the one that has to do with Ebola-free Nigeria, and Ebola-free Africa which is going to be the end of the game.

“We are very happy that of all these volunteers who went out there, they have conducted themselves responsibly, and they were able to carry out the assignment for which they left this country and they have come home with victory, with no blemish, rather with praise and honour to this great nation, Nigeria.”

On his part, the Coordinator of the AU response to Ebola in West Africa and Director, Department of Social Affairs of the AU, Amb. Olawale Maiyegun, called on the government and people of Nigeria to see the volunteers as heroes and heroines. “Let us welcome them and treat them as heroes and heroines that they are. Africa is proud of them, Nigeria is proud of them,” he stressed.

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