The Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has blamed the State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, for the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease to the state.
According to a statement signed by the Special Adviser on Media to the State Chairman of the party, Mr. Jerry Needam, the opposition party in Rivers State stated that Amaechi’s insensitivity was responsible for the Ebola virus that claimed the life of a medical doctor, Iyke Enemuo.
The state PDP pointed out that Amaechi and the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Samson Parker, were not proactive in providing facilities that would have prevented the spread of the disease to Rivers.
It would be recalled that Nigeria’s Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu had earlier on Thursday confirmed the first recorded death from Ebola in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State.
According to the minister, the late Dr. Emenuo contracted the deadly disease after he secretly treated a Liberian diplomat who had contacted the first Ebola victim in Nigeria, Patrick Sawyer.
Chukwu also confirmed that the deseased’s wife and 70 other people have been placed under surveillance for the dreaded disease in Rivers.
Accusing Governor Amaechi of insensitivity, the PDP statement read: “The PDP says carelessness and insensitivity on the part of the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, and the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Samson Parker, are responsible for the unfortunate spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease to the state, with a confirmed death incident of an innocent doctor, Ike Samuel Elemo, as the first victim.
“The PDP notes that Governor Amaechi’s laxity and his Health Commissioner not been proactive in putting in place necessary facilities and modalities in preventing the Ebola outbreak or tackling it to avoid spread in the event of any reported case is consequently regrettable as the Rivers State situation might be more severe than that of Lagos State, in which case the (Lagos) State Government at least showed some form of seriousness by cooperating with the Federal Government prompt responses.
“The PDP expresses astonishment while reacting to the death of the medical doctor in Port Harcourt, who had contact with an Ebola patient, and whose wife and over 200 persons are reportedly being infected with the Ebola virus in Port Harcourt.
The opposition party also claimed that efforts made by the Federal Government to contain the spread of Ebola to Rivers State were rejected by Amaechi.
It added that the governor shunned a meeting presided by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on the prevention of the spread of Ebola to other states.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress, APC, Rivers state chapter has dismissed PDP’s claim, describing it as being out of tune with the realities on the ground.
Mr. Chris Fynebone, the Publicity Secretary of APC in Rivers, while speaking on the allegation on Amaechi in a chat with Punchonline, accused PDP of politicising the Ebola scourge.
He added that contrary to the position of the opposition party, the governor and the commissioner for Health had been proactive in preventing the spread of the disease.
“It is wrong for the state PDP to make such a statement. I have seen the statement and it is clear that it is not in line with the realities on the ground about the Ebola virus. The state government brought in experts to train medical personnel in Rivers.
“There have been plans to prevent the disease from spreading into the state. Remember that a nurse travelled from Lagos to Enugu with the disease and she was taken back to Lagos, but nobody politicised it in Enugu. It is clear that somebody wants to deliberately politicise Ebola disease in the state,” Fybone said.
The deadly Ebola virus currently ravaging West Africa has already claimed no fewer than six lives in Nigeria and nearly 1,500 of lives in the West African region.
Nigeria’s first Ebola patient came from Liberia into Lagos, the commercial hub of the country, on July 20. Since then , the Federal Government has mobilised enormous resources to reduce the possibility of epidemic.
According to the federal health authorities, twelve people who contacted Sawyer have been tested positive for the virus, six of them died, while 7 have successfully recovered and sent home.