Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Resume on Sept 22, Jonathan appeals to NUT, other unions

President Goodluck Jonathan has appealed to the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and other unions to resume work on Monday, September 22.
The president, who spoke with journalists at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, maintained that the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has been successfully contained.
He explained that the government has taken adequate and globally accepted measures to check the spread of the disease.

Jonathan said the relevant authorities have put in place necessary equipment and gadgets at the nation’s airports as well as other entry points to stop any further importation of the disease.
He noted that keeping Nigerian schools closed over Ebola would send wrong signal to other countries and make them to treat all Nigerians travellers as Ebola carriers.
He said: “First I want to use this opportunity to thank all Nigerians in terms of managing the Ebola virus. This is one thing that the whole country came together and worked together to fight; there was no issue of politics, there was no issues of religion and there was no issues of ethnicity. In fact, that was why we were able to contain them.”

“If Nigerians did not agree, we wouldn’t have succeeded. I use this opportunity to thank all the governors. Because I met with all the governors and all the commissioners for health. And all the states set up machineries to manage the Ebola, if at all it turned up.”
Decrying restriction of Nigerians from entering some countries, he said: “Our athletes were segregated in China. They had to return to the country. A place like China asked Ministers of the Federal Republic to show prove of Ebola-free certificate; very discouraging.

“And what people don’t know is that as long as you close your institutions because of Ebola, the ambassadors that are here with us and the high commissioners send what you call dispatches to their home states about what is happening in our country monthly.

“As long as we Nigerians close all our public institutions because of Ebola, the dispatches that goes to the whole world is that Ebola is a problem in Nigeria. And as long as we declare that Ebola is a problem in Nigeria, any Nigerian that travels out will be treated as someone that has Ebola.”
The president, who stressed that Ebola is presently not a problem in Nigeria, said:  “We have been able to manage Ebola and the whole world is happy with us and we must tell the whole world that we have managed Ebola and no Nigerian should be segregated because of Ebola.
“In fact, Osun State was to have their festival and the news came to me to cancel it. I said no. Ebola is no longer a threat in Nigeria and we must tell the world that we have been able to contain it.

“Yes, Ebola is in the West Coast. It could happen in Ghana, it could happen in Senegal or any of the West African countries or beyond. But they have not closed down their institutions. If we still have Ebola, definitely, we will not open any of our institutions, but we don’t have Ebola.”
He added: “I dare ask, is NUT saying that until the world is able to end Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone before Nigeria should open our institutions? It is not right. Government is not a fool. It is not any labour body that asked us to take that decision. We took it because we felt that we must protect our citizens.

“This is one government that discusses with anybody that has issues to discuss. Even NUT has no reason to threaten industrial action because of Ebola; the governors took that decision.

I called all the governors of the states to come with their commissioners of health. On the day of that meeting, I did not even allow them to speak because they will play politics. I asked all the commissioners, including the Secretary of Health in Abuja, to brief us on the steps they have taken and they listened to their colleagues because it was also a peer review process.

“If you are hiding certain things by the time you hear your colleagues, you will go back and get things done. We are sure that even if one mad Sawyer comes again, nobody will contract Ebola. We have managed Ebola very well. The world is happy. We must tell the world that no Nigerian should be suspected of Ebola and that is the position of government.”

Appealing to NUT, he said: “I will plead with NUT and other unions that this does not require industrial action. They should commend government, they should work with us; they are Nigerians. All Nigerians must work together to make sure that we contain Ebola. Why do we want to create problems where it is not necessary, it is uncalled for.”

The president praised Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola and his Rivers State counterpart, Rotimi Amaechi, for working with the Federal Government to contain the disease in their states.
He said: “I have to specifically appreciate the governors of Lagos and Rivers states that had incidence of Ebola and how they worked with the Federal Government to manage the situation.”

Source: The Nation

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