Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ebola In Port Harcourt, ECOWAS Official Koye Olu-Ibukun, To Be Charged For Manslaughter

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Koye Olu-Ibukun, the Nigerian who escaped from observation in Lagos, after coming in contact with Patrick Sawyer and beginning to show symptoms of Ebola virus to travel to Port Harcourt for treatment, may be facing manslaughter charges soon.

Olu-Ibukun was attached to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), as head of their liaison office in Lagos and had come in contact with Patrick Sawyer in that capacity. His irresponsible actions of travelling while sick resulted in the death of the doctor who treated him (Iyke Enemuo), and also exposed unknown numbers of Nigerians to the virus.

There are reports that the number of persons under surveillance in the state for Ebola Virus Disease has increased to almost 200.

The Ebola Index case in PH, and how he defied instruction and left Lagos after being placed in the isolation unit, was discussed at the Federal Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday.

According to ThisDay, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation was then directed to look into the Nigerian laws and see how he could be sanctioned for his action that resulted in the death of Enemuo.

Also, the ministry of health aims to strengthen the laws that will prevent people under observation or quarantine from escaping in future.

Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, told Thisday the review of the quarantine law became necessary given the current Ebola outbreak;

"We are strengthening surveillance and we will work with the National Assembly to review the country's quarantine law. Apart from the two known cases (of escape) to Enugu and Port Harcourt respectively, no other cases have been identified. Nonetheless, there is need to strengthen or set in motion an enabling law to prevent patients from escaping surveillance.” 

Nigeria has an existing Quarantine Act, which was enacted in 1926. This Act has however become grossly inadequate. In view of this, Senator Clever Marcus Ikisikpo recently sponsored a bill that seeks to repeal and re-enact the Quarantine Act.

The bill if passed, seeks to make provisions for preventing the introduction into Nigeria and from Nigeria, dangerous infectious and communicable diseases, organisms and agents and to repeal the Quarantine Act, 1926.

The bill may also be considering assigning security agencies to monitor the movement of Ebola patients under surveillance, and to prevent the further escape of Ebola patients in isolation centres as well as those placed under surveillance.

A member of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Henry Ewunonu, said the time had come for government to bring in security personnel to track down and checkmate the movement of Ebola patients to prevent them from spreading the virus.

"Security should be brought in to track down any Ebola patient escaping quarantine or surveillance. Ebola patients intentionally spreading the disease are death agents to the public. It is not a human right issue. Government can do anything for the overriding national and public interest to keep Nigerians protected. Ebola patient transmitting the virus is worse than a bomber."

However, the Director of Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Bridget Okoeguela, said calling in security agencies to monitor the movement and behaviours of Ebola patients is difficult.

"It is difficult to bring in Police and other security agencies to monitor Ebola patients. When they are on surveillance, they are restricted, that does not mean they cannot move but they cannot leave where they are staying."

"When they are on surveillance, we check them every day to see their health, whether they are having fever or other symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)."

Project Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Prof. Abdulrahman Nasidi, said Olu-Ibukun Koye, who deliberately left Lagos and sneaked into Port Harcourt, thereby transmitting the virus, lied to avoid thorough medical screening and surveillance.

"We are all human; not that we are not in charge or in control, he never said the truth, he was telling us lies. He avoided us, switched off his phones and he wickedly went to Port Harcourt to infect some people else.

The disease is very dangerous, so even some medical officers are hiding, they don't want to come out and show themselves."

We are lucky that we were able to pick up this case, it is not easy. He didn't tell us the truth. He just escaped, which is like going to harm and kill people."


  1. My dear Myne, please don't follow other's(blogs and journalists who are to make thorough research but fail to) to say this man is a Nigerian diplomat. He is a Nigerian working with ECOWAS period. How can he be representing Nigeria in Nigeria??? ECOWAS is an international organisation and those who work in there are technical corps not diplomatic corps.

    1. Thanks for that correction. I wondered about that too, and kept references to him as a diplomat to a minimum, except as reported by other sources.

    2. Merci d'avoir effectuer les corrections.


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