Patrick Sawyer’s Plague and the Panic-Marabouts’ Solution

by ahjotnaija

At least, now we know that some Nigerians actually bathed with saltwater solution in an attempt to save/rescue their skin from the fast and wide spreading killer Ebola virus. In a country where ignorance is strongly present, things like this are come place. Besides, it is a known fact that the epidemic has presently no known cure. Thus, any rumored solution or near-efficacious medication shall be a welcome idea, news of which would run faster than wildfire would in a terribly hot summer. Panicking would then become the order of the day. The people are desperately in search of a viable savior in the face of a deadlier than HIV infection. One has no choice than to resort to the most-called-on being in Africa, namely God to come to the rescue of his faithful children. I hope he would.

In what seemed to be a coordinating effort by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) to combat this terrible virus, the President put together a research team and earmarked over a billion naira for research purpose. Truth be told, this effort is as good as medicine after death. The FGN is known for this lazy and near-populistic approach to matters of high importance. Definitely, the virus was not discovered yesterday nor since the recent outbreak. It has been in the West African subregion since the 1970s. It needs no telling that the decision of the FGN is a move too late. Lest I forget, the renowned Professor Maurice Iwu is on the team of appointed researchers! On reading the breaking news, I could only scream: God save your people!

It need no reminding that Professor Maurice Iwu is a political tool in the hands of the People Democratic Party (PDP). Nigeria is yet to fully recover from the elections conducted by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under Professor Iwu’s supervision as chairman. Just like the presence of a he-goat cannot be unnoticed, hardly was the research team announced that we heard of a possible kolanut-therapy for the raging Ebola virus. Professor Iwu was credited with this therapeutic abracadabra. It is very sad that anyone would be ready to con his own people as always! It needs no soothe-telling that the fund allocated is a booty already shared among the faithful researchers!

I read on a Facebook wall where it was jovially asked if the so-called wonder serum, which *healed* the two US-Americans and which is probably being applied on the infected Spanish priest is not good for *Negroes*! Can anyone blame USA or Spain for caring for their citizens? As usual, the only place Africa, and particularly the West Africa subregion look to right now is the West- the developed world for solution to a virus that is said to have originated from Africa!

Well, I understand the panic caused by the terrifyingly dangerous Ebola virus as it kills almost assuredly once contacted. With no cure in sight, anybody would panic just as bad. Allow me to ask though, if Africa is not already being hit by a more catastrophic epidemic and crisis of catastrophic heights. Talk of malaria and tuberculosis. They kill in millions! Talk of child mortality and women death during childbirth! The numbers are alarming! Talk of lack of edible water and food for starving children! Talk of anything bad, it can be found on that continent!

I must be swift to add at this point that this is not self-hate or wanting to show only the bad-side of Africa. This is the naked truth. Besides, if there is any good-side to show, then certainly not good enough so long there are hungry children with no shelter over their head. Mind you, hungry children are even the least Africa’s problems. The list of our woes is endless!

African leaders have always abandoned the continent to her fate. The people suffer thus very greatly when there is a health crisis of this capacity. Beyond usual rhetorics, announcements and setting-up of research teams, there is no serious moves from the African continent to finding a solution. I oftentimes wonder when Africans shall turn on their true-oppressors- the African leaders! If not now, then probably when there is a plague as terrible as the Black Death! One can only hope the USA or any other country in the West finds a viable cure on time. Of course, a cure shall never be found by the research teams put together by various African countries.

Talking about saltwater solution again, only anyone who is un-sincere would be surprised that there are those who fell for it. There are posts making round on Facebook on how stupid any educated person is, who actually bathed with the farce of a cure. To say the truth, it is not shocking that the farcical cure was proposed and believed by many Nigerians (West Africans). After all, we must not forget too quickly we live on a continent where people were told to eat grass and they did. I recently watched a television report where people bathed in a dirty and muddy river because it is believed it can cure them of their infirmities! Really, the saltwater solution is the least of terribly unfathomable fables that we fell for as Africans. We might have fallen too far to be saved! I terribly hope it is not too late though!

About Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian who successfully transported the virus to Nigeria. For once, I would agree with President Jonathan. He called it madness and pure craziness on the part of Patrick Sawyer to have chosen to fly to Nigeria of all places! The Liberian President was sorry he escaped surveillance. Of course, according to her, Liberia would never have wanted him to escape! There are those who believe Sawyer was an agent of evil. I do not subscribe to this opinion, but the people who hold it, might not be absolutely wrong in their belief. So many questions begged for answers, really. Anyway, I think it is best left at that. It makes no sense crying over spilled milk. Either way, the virus would still have reached Nigeria, by flight, by foot or any other means. Our borders and various control posts are as good as non-existent in the eye of corruption! Even death-in-person himself would have found a way through them if it can pay!

The issue is now this: a reasonable government would have, for precautionary purpose, wanted all those on that particular flight from Liberia be tested and quarantined until certified they are Ebola-free. I doubt it if the passengers’ list can be provided. Beyond a passengers’ list that will not surface, in a saner society, those on the flight would have turned-up willingly for a check-up. This is a matter of life and death and the possibility of killing more people with infection! Come to think of it, the poor nurse who attended to the Liberian is long dead! To run into hiding is the stupidest thing to do. Yet, I am almost sure none of these passengers have shown up, whereas they are not unaware that it is already too late once Ebola symptoms are visible. One cannot but ask this troubling question: what exactly is wrong with us Africans?

In the news, a 51-year old Romanian turned himself in when he suspected on returning from West Africa he might have contacted the dreaded virus. He was tested and placed under observation. That would have been a major case on the European continent after the Spanish priest who was moved home. The case of a West African who was suspected in Hamburg has been cleared. He is not infected. Canada and Hong-Kong tested two suspected cases of Ebola, both negative. Many countries are now very alert. This is a good thing to do pending the discovery of a viable anti-Ebola drug. We await the result of a German student in Rwanda who is being quarantined on suspicion he might have contacted the virus. Until his blood-test result is received, fingers are still crossed. If confirmed, that would be the first case in the East African subregion. We hope it is not. Tonight at the Lagos Airport in Nigeria, panic almost took over when a passenger slumped and died. Of course, the first suspicion was Ebola. According to report, those around the passenger fled. Thank Goodness he tested negative.

With reports like this in and around the world, it clearly shows that the deadly virus might be mainly present for now in Africa, it takes no time however for its effects to be felt around the world with dire consequences. It is no more an African problem, it is an international problem. The world will certainly win the battle against this deadly virus, but at what cost. This cost implication remains presently uncertain.

True that so far, people in the West African subregion live in constant fear and near-resignation, but it must be said that if the heaven must fall, then it is no more the problem of a single person; therefore the whole world must prevent this heaven from collapsing on us all!

In the meantime, West Africans and certainly the wider world keep hope alive that an effective cure/therapy is found soon enough.

on a final note, I must not but salute the many doctors, nurses, aid-workers and many volunteers, who are diligently committed in their chosen field of saving lives even at risk of loosing their own lives! Respect! Many thanks to them for doing a real great job in this trying period particularly for West Africa and the world at large. Your selfless service makes the world a better place with each passing day. We love you!