Minister Ngafuan Acknowledges Nigeria’s Partnership Role

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Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan says Nigeria’s partnership role in Liberia signifies true and laudable friendship.

Speaking at a dinner hosted by Nigerian Ambassador Chigozie F. Obi-Nnadozie for medical professionals who have arrived in the country to help in combating the Ebola virus, Minister Ngafuan recounted the many instances Nigeria has identified with Liberia.

He mentioned the cardinal role Nigeria played in helping to restore peace in Liberia as one major instance that his country and fellow citizens cannot forget.

Minister Ngafuan, who has been crying foul against some countries for stigmatizing Liberians and cancelling flights to Liberia, declared that the roles of Nigeria and other African countries in the Ebola crisis affecting Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone manifest true African solidarity.

As he departs for Abuja, the Nigerian capital, for the ECOWAS Summit this week, he will stand among ECOWAS members to express Liberia’s gratitude to those who have helped to reduce the cases of Ebola in Liberia.

With reports of decline in new cases of Ebola, Minister Ngafuan expressed hope that the arrival of the Nigerian health professionals will help partners on ground totally to eradicate the disease in a shortest possible time.

Speaking earlier, Nigeria’s Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Madam Chigozie F. Obi-Nnadozie, stressed that the health professionals, some of whom are students, have come to help in their respective professional areas to curb the Ebola epidemic.

Ambassador Obi-Nnadozie expressed that Nigeria has done this to manifest her country’s true love for Liberia and to ensure that Nigeria will always stand by Liberia in good and bad times.

She also expressed hope that as Ebola gets on the run, the collective efforts of all partners will get Liberia to soon be declared Ebola-free.

The head of the Nigerian team, Dr. Joshua Obasayan, said their mission is to add to others here in Liberia to collectively fight the virus.

Nigeria has set the record for containing and eradicating the disease when it broke out in that country and the same experts who helped in the process are here in Liberia now.

Also, Maj. Gen. Dr. Julius Oketta of Africa Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA), welcomed the Nigerian health professionals and said the presence of Dr. Obasayan is a help to him in meeting up with some tasks in his absence.

This is not Nigeria’s first time identifying with Liberia in the Ebola crisis.  When the outbreak got worse in August, Nigeria provided US$500,000 for Liberia to fight the disease.

Meanwhile, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), through its health body, the West African Health Organization (WAHO), has deployed a thirty- nine (39) person strong medical team to Liberia to help the country battle the deadly Ebola Virus. The ECOWAS Medical Team, headed by Dr. Kabba Joiner, arrived in Liberia on Sunday, December 7, 2014 on board a United Nations Aircraft at the Roberts International Airport.

The 39 member team consists of 10 medical doctors, 17 nurses and 12  specialists in different medical areas. Medical personnel from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Mali, Benin and Nigeria make up the ECOWAS contingent.

 The ECOWAS Medical team will work under the supervision of the African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (ASEOWA) under the leadership of Major General Dr.Julius F. Oketta.

Receiving the delegation at the RIA, Major General Oketta said the mission is a joint AU-ECOWAS civil military response operation to the Ebola outbreak in the region. Dr. Oketta disclosed  that the mission of the joint AU-ECOWAS initiative  is to work on the following pillars: medical and non medical, dealing with the Ebola Treatment Units and surveillance, humanitarian  support to distress communities, psycho-social support and social mobilization, communications and coordination  and collaboration with partners in the fight against Ebola.

“All of us from the African soil have come here in support of government’s effort in eradicating Ebola. I normally use the word eradication because we don’t want to suspend Ebola, we must finish it robustly and therefore we are here to ensure by the time we stepped on the ground Ebola must be declared finished that is our spirit”, Major General Dr. Oketta told the zealous looking medical personnel.

 He urged the medical personnel to serve as not only ambassadors for their respective countries but also for ECOWAS by showing love, care and support for people in the communities where they will be assigned.

For his part, the head of the ECOWAS Medical team, Dr. Kabba Joiner said he was glad to be in Liberia to make a contribution to rid the West African sub-region of the deadly Ebola virus.  Dr. Joiner said the team was carried through the entire basic preventive training and skilled through the steps in treating Ebola victims. “We are here to work directly with the AU Mission, the Ministry of Health and other partners to ensure we win this war. My team hopes to be deployed to wherever the authorities in Liberia decide and will work in all terrains”, he said.

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