Ebola Outbreak: Nigeria government petitions airline to ICAO over corpse repatriation illegality

It was widely acknowledge that best international practice are yardstick for measuring what amount to negligent, tortuous act, breach of trust and incompetency.

The deadly disease known and addressed as Ebola was prevented by the Nigeria government sometimes in 2014 and the WHO commended Nigeria government and its people for such professionalism exhibited against the pandemic Ebola disease.

The Nigeria Government has officially reported and petitioned Kenya Airways to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for conveying a corpse from the Ebola-infected Democratic Republic of Congo to Nigeria without the necessary approval from the relevant authority.

The Nigeria Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, made this disclosure to Nigeria government State House correspondents on Wednesday at the end of the weekly meeting of the Nigeria Government, Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in Aso Rock at the Presidential Villa, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Prof Isaac Adewole further disclosed that International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) was formally and officially notified of the development so that the foreign airline Kenya Airways could be sanctioned appropriately.

The Minister of Health said, “We briefed the council about the unfortunate incident of a body that was flown into Nigeria from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“That body was flown in without the necessary approval. The standard procedure is that for you to fly a body into Nigeria, you need what we call a waiver which is in form of an approval to be issued by the Ministry of Health. This was not sought in this particular instance.

“We have formally notified the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) so that Kenya Airways could actually be sanctioned.

“In addition to that, we are reassuring Nigerians that the body tested negative to Ebola or any of the viral haemorrhagic fever. We know the cause of the death but for confidential reasons, we do not have to disclose it. But it is nothing really to worry about.

“We are on top of the situation and we are happy about the way we handled the situation. The entire premises were decontaminated immediately and the body was taken away.”

“We also presented a report about the meningitis outbreak and we are happy to inform the nation that we are almost at the end of the outbreak. What we are now doing is to prepare and ensure that this does not repeat itself next year,” he said.

“The company will between 2017 and 2021 produce many of the basic vaccines that we need.

“We have considered vaccines as a security issue. It is not only health, but we need to guarantee the security of all Nigerians, particularly our children.”

The Minister of Health said with the approval, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), would perfect the agreement that hopefully would be signed in the next two weeks to pave the way for the commencement.

The minister of health further pleaded with Nigerians to corporate with all the relevant authority in the protecting the country from unforeseen disease outbreak.

That the unprofessional act of the foreign airline, Nigerians should not live in fear of Ebola because the repatriated corps tested negative to Ebola virus and other viral haemorrhagic fever.

That FEC approved a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the Federal Government and May and Baker Plc, to incorporate a limited liability company called Bio Vaccines Limited that would be producing common vaccines locally.

Minister of Health further said that Ministry of Health is working tirelessly to ensure that the meningitis outbreak witnessed in some states was almost over.

The ICAO is a United Nations specialised agency established by member states in 1944 to manage the administration and governance of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention).

The organisation works with the Convention’s 191 member states and industry groups to reach consensus on international civil aviation Standards and Recommended Practices and policies in support of a safe, efficient, secure, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector.

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