Nigerians plead for foreign help as Ebola fears spread
Lagos: Standing just a few hundred metres from the Lagos hospital where a Liberian man died of Ebola, John Ejiofor pleaded for the world to help contain a spread of the virus raging across west Africa.
"Nigeria is in a serious mess," the 40-year-old electrical engineer told AFP. "We lack the capacity to deal with the situation."
Residents of Lagos, sub-Saharan Africa`s largest city with more than 20 million people, returned to work today after a four-day break to mark the end of Islam`s holy month of Ramadan, a public holiday across the country, even in the majority Christian south.
It was the first workday morning in the bustling mega-city since authorities confirmed that the worst-ever Ebola epidemic -- which has killed more than 670 people since March in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone -- had reached Nigerian soil.
Patrick Sawyer, an employee of the Liberian finance ministry, is thought to have contracted the virus from his sister before travelling to Nigeria for a regional conference.
The 40-year-old died in quarantine Friday at a hospital next to the Obalende market, where Ejiofor sat in his car on today, voicing concern over Nigeria`s response to the outbreak.
"If there is an Ebola epidemic in Nigeria today, our health authorities will be too overwhelmed... The government has to work with the World Health Organisation (WHO)," to stop the virus from spreading, he said.
Elizabeth Akinlabi, a 30-year-old schoolteacher milling around Obalende, agreed, saying that days after the Ebola death was confirmed, the government`s response remained lacklustre.
"A lot of people still do not know about the existence of the disease, not to talk of taking measures to prevent it," she said, asking the WHO "to come to the aid of Nigeria".