President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday reassured Nigerians of the Federal Government’s readiness to contain the spread of the Ebola virus in the country.
Mr. Jonathan gave the assurance in Abuja at an interfaith conference with the theme: “The Imperative of Interfaith Understanding and Cooperation for Responsible Politics,” organised by the Interfaith Initiative for Peace, an NGO.
The president said that he would meet with the 36 state governors and the state commissioners of health on Wednesday to ensure that they were all poised to fight the deadly virus.
“As a government, we promise Nigerians that we will do everything humanly possible to contain the Ebola.
“We are doing our best, on Wednesday I am going to meet with all the governors of the state. They will come with their commissioners in charge of health and we must make sure that every state is prepared.
“Where they lack, the Federal Government will support the states to make sure that they have all it takes to contain the Ebola.
“It’s unfortunate that one mad man brought the Ebola to us, but we have to contain it.”
The president pleaded with religious leaders in the country to educate their followers on what they could do to check further spread of the virus.
He said that from his discussions with health experts within and outside the country, 60 per cent of the Ebola infections currently in Africa were contracted at the burial ceremonies for those who died of the infection.
“This is a good forum that we will use to also plead with our religious leaders, because people listen to you more than they listen to politicians. So, in our various preaching in the mosques, in the churches, we should communicate to them.
“I have been having discussions with people outside the country and within the country since this incident happened.
“My conversation with the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Mrs Margaret Chan, was quite instructive.
“It says that the spread of Ebola, from the analysis so far, 60 per cent of the spread is during burials, that is why we are pleading that we must be mindful about burials.
“We are even pleading that for people who believe in some kind of ceremonies and so on, this is not the best period for those ceremonies.
“If somebody dies now, that person should be buried where he dies, after some months when we get over this, you can exhume the body if you want, government will provide the medical professionals that will help you exhume the body and go and bury the way you want.”