Ebola: Rivers Yet To Receive FG N200m Assistance Fund

DR. SAMPSON PARKER
DR. SAMPSON PARKER

The Rivers State Government has said it is yet to receive any monetary assistance from the Federal Government following the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in the state.

But the Lagos State Government, which first recorded the outbreak of the deadly virus in the country over two months ago, had acknowledged receiving N200m from the Federal Government.

The Rivers State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, who made the disclosure in an interview with journalists on Saturday in Abuja, however, stated that the state government had received a budget of N1bn from Emergency Operation Committee to fight EVD in the State.

“Well, I am still waiting; the Minister (of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu), has visited us and he said he was going to do something. So, I am waiting”, Parker said.

He said that although it was too early to talk about how much the state government had spent in curtailing the spread of the disease, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has released over N300 million and will continue to do more.

“The Governor will continue to release more funds; we are paying salaries daily. We are paying allowances daily. The expenditure is a daily occurrence. We will continue to spend. We have a budget of about N1bn combined. It is not just Rivers State Ministry of Health.

“It is from Emergency Operation Committee, comprising the Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF, and Centre for Disease Control. That is the EOC, it is not Rivers State. So, that is what we are budgeting. That is our projection for Rivers State. The Governor has promised us that whenever we need resources, he is ready to make them available”.

The commissioner, however, warned Nigerians against jubilating yet until the EVD epidemic is contained in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

He was reacting to questions on plans put in place to ensure adequate screening of anyone coming into Rivers State.

Parker said, “We have a very robust set up, not only for treatment but also for prevention. All the points of entry, coming in by bus, by air and by sea are all covered. We can do just that much, I always say that no matter how careful you are, a bad man is always a bad man; just as Ibukun (Koye) escaped Lagos and came to Port Harcourt. And, there was somebody that gave him a room.

“In war, where everywhere is tight, you see people escaping tough gun battle and going to another country. It is like that. And, again, that brings the fact that it is not yet time to celebrate until we sort out the issues in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Those are human beings; and, in every human being, the survival instinct is high. If anyone escapes in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the place they will think of is Nigeria.

“No matter how tight we put our security, they will find a way to break through. The best way to prevent this disease from coming into Nigeria is to go there; the international community, Nigeria, West Africa community and Africa should go there and solve their problems. If you don’t solve their problems, one way or the other, they will break through into other countries”.

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