“Did they hate Nigerians that much? How could someone have brought the disease to Nigeria to inflict us?” “Foolish Nigerians! Did Liberians create the disease?” “Whoever is caught entering Nigeria with the disease should be injected to die instantly…”
Continued from https://oluseguntoday.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/west-africa-ebola-now-integration-later-1-2/) Since all regional flights to and from Sierra Leone serving other West African states had been suspended, my only option would have been to fly SN Brussels from Sierra Leone to Belgium then back to Cote d’Ivoire. Insane, isn’t it?
So after the initial refusal and delay on both sides – Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana respectively, I wondered why there had not been much ado about Ebola at borders I used between Sierra Leone, Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso – that was the route I had to travel for longer days and spent more money on my planned trip to Cote d’Ivoire.
Not even a single unnecessary question was asked. Just pay your token, get your passport stamped or present your ID card and move on.
Mali has thermometer guns at the border. Burkina Faso too. Why not Cote d’Ivoire? And Ghana just came with one as I’d mentioned earlier. For integration sake, this handheld infrared gun costs about $100 each.
Also, in the wake of the Ebola Virus Disease, the Economic Community of West African States heads of state met and agreed, according to their released outcome of deliberations, that borders should not be locked across the region. That is not the case now as some people are being deprived.
Go online. Virulent exchanges among Nigerians and Liberians in the free world of social media got me teetering about how West Africans would see themselves – let’s say after March 2015 when the WHO hopes the virus would have been curtailed to a bearable point.
“Did they hate Nigerians that much? How could someone have brought the disease to Nigeria to inflict us?” “Foolish Nigerians! Did Liberians create the disease?” “Whoever is caught entering Nigeria with the disease should be injected to die instantly.” On and on. Indelible words coming from those who don’t want to be a shadow of others.
In the aftermath of the EVD, I think the ECOWAS body should be ready to contend with something greater than the hypocrisy that has been managed by the multi-million dollar integration project which has been around since 1975.
Its response to the EVD epidemic has not been robust as it did during the war that broke out in Liberia and Sierra Leone over a decade ago. Could this be due partly to the outcome of the misunderstanding of interests that marred the operations of ECOMOG then?
I believe when this is over, ECOWAS may need additional time and effort to convince West Africans that it has been working for all and not just a few. Better still, as the EVD is currently sitting comfortably in three West African states, administrators at the ECOWAS Commission need to work from now till later when the disease would have been brought under control on how the regional body would review its role at a crucial time like this and likely hone up to the reality of its relevance – or irrelevance as the case may be.