The Federal Government may swing a hammer on Kenya Airways for bringing in a corpse from the Ebola-affected Democratic Republic of Congo to Nigeria.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who spoke at a joint briefing organised by the state agency and the Federal Ministry of Heath, said the airline did not obtain the necessary approval to bring in the body from the Ebola-ravaged country.
Idris, however, said the laboratory investigations showed that the corpse was not infected with EVD.
“The airline brought the remains of a Nigerian without having all documentations that are required to process its clearance by the Department of Port Health Services, Federal Ministry of Health. The Federal Government of Nigeria and relevant agencies condemn this deliberate breach.
“In line with industry practice, a report has been made to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the regulatory agency of the Nigerian aviation industry on the occurrence.
“Necessary steps are being taken by the regulatory authorities to sanction the airline in a bid to prevent future occurrence. We have commenced detailed investigations by all relevant agencies of government to determine the immediate and remote intentions of this unfortunate behaviour,” Idris stated.
The commissioner noted that the Federal Government had banned repatriation of human remains into the country through all points of entry as a precautionary measure to avoid importation of any infectious disease during the Ebola outbreak.
He added that the Federal Ministry of Health and the Port Health Division had issued guidelines to all airlines on the procedures to be followed to obtain a waiver before repatriating any human remains into the country.
The commissioner said, “The government will like to reiterate that the ban is still in force and any attempt to contravene this ban will attract serious sanction. Government will want everyone to be vigilant and encourage all our officials at land, sea and air borders to continue the screening of international passengers.”