In a statement on Friday, former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar called for unity and national resolve to contain the coronavirus in Africa’s most populous nation. Atiku was reacting to the first coronavirus case in Sub-Saharan Africa which was confirmed in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.
The country’s Ministry of Heath confirmed a Covid-19 case in the commercial capital, Lagos on Thursday and made the announcement on Friday.
Health Minister Dr. Osagie Ehanire made the details public on social media. He said the first case in the region was an Italian citizen who worked in Nigeria and had returned from Italy to Lagos on 25 February.
Atiku said: “Now that Nigeria has had her first confirmed case of the Corona Virus infestation, via a citizen of Italy, who visited Lagos and Ogun states, I would want to offer my patriotic counsel to the government of Major General Muhammadu Buhari, on how best to tackle this issue.
“We must call upon our experience with the Wild Ebola Virus, of which we were the first nation in the world to defeat that scourge in 2014. How did Nigeria do it? We achieved it by showing unprecedented unity. The federal government of the day, worked closely with the Lagos and Rivers state governments. There was complete unity, solidarity and oneness of purpose, which created the atmosphere that defeated that deadly infestation.
“I strongly counsel that any tendency to blame and point fighters must be temporarily, if not permanently, suspended. If fingers must be pointed, it must be to solutions.
Nigeria needs firm and decisive actions to prevent an escalation of the scourge. Recently, we closed our borders as an act against economic sabotage. Perhaps now is the time to temporarily halt flights to and from any nation with a prevalence of this scourge. It is more important to secure human lives, than to secure an economy. We also need to invest in early detection facilities at our airports.
“But above all, Nigeria must not panic. Whether at government or individual levels. We have defeated Ebola before and we can defeat this present predicament.
“This crisis is an opportunity to show that we are first and foremost Nigerians, and that we have no other country but our own dear fatherland, which we must work together to keep healthy and secure.
“God bless Nigeria and her people”.