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Ebola Disclaimer - Nigerian Envoy Denies Contact With Sawyer

Written by Godwin Ibe
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 The Ebola virus which has claimed the lives of more than 600 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia is deadly and those coming in physical contact with infected patients are at high risk of contracting the virus....

Following a patient's death, contact tracing is conducted by health practitioners to track all who interacted with the victim to be placed in isolation and monitored for the required 21-day incubation period of the virus.

Following the death of a Liberian, Patrick Sawyer in Nigeria who tested positive of the virus Nigerian officials reported via the media a list of more than 40 persons, including its ambassador to Liberia as those who made contact with Sawyer prior to his death but the envoy has denied any contact with the late Sawyer.

Local and international media reported that Ambassador Chigozie Obi-Nnadozie and 58 others may have had contact with the late Patrick Sawyer on board the Asky flight to Nigeria but the envoy has denied the reports.

Ambassador Obi-Nnadozie at a Press conference Thursday at the Nigerian Embassy in Monrovia said, her attention was drawn to what she described as an untrue story in various Media stating that she was among the 59 persons who had contact with the late sawyer.

Obi-Nnadozie said: "I wish to clearly state that I did not at any time and /or place make contact with the said Mr. Sawyer and that I was not on the flight from Monrovia to Lagos with him. I am here in Monrovia performing my normal representational and administrative duties".

The Ambassador continued "Let me personally state that I was not on that Asky airline flight, I neither knew Mr. Sawyer nor had any contact with him even while in Liberia." The Nigerian diplomat also dispelled rumors of a cover-up indicating that she is okay in response to the injurious news story that has been making the rounds in the past few days.

She expressed her disappointment at the news reports that in her words incorrectly stated that she was on the flight and made contacts with the deceased, without conducting proper due diligence and commended immensely those friends and colleagues who called her to express their concern over the unfortunate development.

Ambassador Obi-Nnadozie also disclosed that her President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is in solidarity with the government and people of Liberia and commended the Liberian government for the effort being made to contain the spread of the disease through the setting up of a national task force.

Upon hearing the news of the virus outbreak in Liberia the Nigerian government announced a donation of US$ 500,000.00 as a contribution in the fight to contain the virus. The Nigerian Ambassador also expressed sympathy on behalf of the government and people of Liberia and the bereaved family of the late Sawyer.

In a statement issued by the Liberian government this week, it stated that the official who traveled to Nigeria with the Victim was a special representative of the ECOWAS president who is also a Nigerian but a male that was mistaken for the Nigerian Ambassador to Liberia.

"We hereby tender our undeserved apologies to her Excellency for the inconvenience this may have caused her both as an individual and a very high official and Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria," the statement said.

On whether the US government had made any inquiry about Mr. Sawyer's death, in fact, it has been proven that he was a U.S. citizen she said. "I am not sure about that, but if that is to be done it will be made at our embassy in Washington."

The Nigerian Ambassador in response to a question on whether Boko-Haram could be using Liberia she said; "the first person I heard that from was a Liberian government official who was facing Senate questioning."

In a related development, Nigeria is observing the hundred-day anniversary of the kidnapped girls by Boko-Haram a Nigerian insurgent against Western education. Madam Obi-Nnadozie said; since the incident, the government of Nigeria has made numerous efforts in bring the girls back, with evidence of the killing and arrest of some senior members of the group.

She also disclosed that the Nigerian government has put in place security measures on schools' campuses and churches with support from the World Bank and the United Nations.



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