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Ebola: Pres. Jonathan Defends Sept. 22 Schools’ Resumption Date



Goodluck Jonathan Bella Naija

Abuja (NAN) – President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday defended the Sept. 22 school resumption date, saying there was currently no case of the disease in the country to warrant extension of the holiday.

Jonathan spoke to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when he reacted to the threat by the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) to embark on strike over government’s refusal to shift the date.

He said that the disease had been effectively contained, adding that keeping schools closed would send a wrong message to the international community about the situation in the country.

The president said government was prepared and had put measures in place to deal with any possible future outbreak of the virus in the country.

He said: “Presently, there is no Ebola case in Nigeria; nobody in Nigeria has the disease now.

“Most of the people who came down with the disease have recovered. Out of the 19, we lost seven and the others have recovered, although there a few people we are still observing.

“I am not saying we may not record Ebola case again. As long as the disease is still in the West Coast – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the likelihood that a character like the Late Sawyer may come in through one way or the other is there.

“But government is also very mindful of that. Presently our air and sea ports as well as land border posts are properly protected.

“If Sawyer were to arrive in the country now, no Nigerian would contact the virus because of the level of preparation.’’

Jonathan argued that those calling for extension of the holiday were ignorant of the wrong signals it would send to the international community about the Ebola situation in the country.

He said that Nigerians were being stigmatised and segregated in other countries because of the negative narrative about the status of the virus in the country.

“If you are a Nigerian today and you travel to some countries, they don’t even want you to enter the countries.

“Our athletes were segregated in China, they had to return back. In China they are even asking ministers of the Federal Republic to show proof of being free of the disease, and this is quite discouraging.

“What people don’t know is that as long as you close your institutions because of Ebola, the ambassadors from various countries that are here with us and the high commissioners send dispatches weekly or monthly to their home countries about what is happening in Nigeria.

“As long as we Nigerians close our public institutions because of Ebola, the dispatches that go out to the rest of the world is that Ebola is a problem in Nigeria.

“As long as we declare Ebola a problem in Nigeria, any Nigerian that travels out will be treated as somebody with Ebola.

“We’ve been able to manage the disease and the whole world is happy with us, and we must tell the world that we have managed Ebola and no Nigerian should be segregated because of Ebola.

“If NUT wants Nigeria to close schools until December, then invariably they are saying that until December Nigerians should be discriminated against.’’

Jonathan described the NUT’s threat as unnecessary and uncalled for.

He gave credit to all Nigerians for their cooperation and support to government in the effective management of the situation.

The president also lauded the state governors for their role in the success story, specifically those of Lagos and Rivers where cases of the disease were recorded.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.


  1. Kubrat7

    September 16, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    I kinda agree on this. those public school teachers want nothing doing.

  2. quex

    September 16, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Abeg let them resume jare, The president is very right.

  3. me

    September 16, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Although I am for the decision that our children should return to school I couldn’t help laughing at the concerns/ reasons our dear Mr. President considers the perfect one to assuage worried or even frightened parents. Wetin concern Mama Bisi ( who sells akara) or Papa Jafaru the Taxi driver with who is refused entry into America or stigmatised in China. Of all the reasons available this ones, really Mr. President? #”icringe”.

    • Sylvia

      September 17, 2014 at 11:25 am

      Hmmm, your reasoning though! Mama Bisi’s son may have been part of those boys that went to play for Nigeria that couldn’t stand the segregation and came back. “Papa Jafaru” the Taxi driver may have gained some more Naira notes if other Nationals were not too scared to come to Nigeria for business and used his cab services. Everything is interconnected my dear, just that we are sometimes narrow minded to see. Injury to one, Injury to all! God bless you.

    • Potatoes

      September 17, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      Hnmmn well said, you are absolutely right

  4. olawale

    September 16, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I think the government should really have change of mind. Since the dead victims have kids they might infect their pairs at school. And an epidemi spread faster amongs youngsters

  5. wofai

    September 16, 2014 at 10:11 pm


  6. fifi

    September 16, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    I totally agree with “me”Mr presidents reasons are just sad! Are we seriously more worried about what the outside world think of us???our international airports just have thermometers checking people coming into the country instead of proper scanners .So much for being worried.i spose all these teachers are asking for is “put adequate measures in schools and educate teachers on what they need to know and do before sending them out into the jungle.

  7. Aduks

    September 16, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    I laud GEJ for handling the ebola ‘wahala’ with all care and efficiency.
    I also feel the teachers oughtn’t complain about being asked to resume school, if at all they care about our centers of learning, and the future of this great country Nigeria.
    After all, they go to other public places such as markets, churches, mosques and even attend occasions such as weddings, bazaars, etc.

  8. girl

    September 16, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    somebody in GEJ’s camp needs to employ me because i could have written better than this while half asleep. LAAWWWD

  9. anonymous

    September 16, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Sriously, Mr Jonah?u started ol diz, I mean extensions of schools resumptions…….. Why changing ur mind wen u ve not trained som ppl 2 help prevent d spread of d ebola virus n doz skuls u promised 2 provide ebola kits r not properly kitted n r not we’ll equiped 4 d prevention of d virus! U started diz ish on ur own n naw u 1nt 2 cause confusion. Wat a selfish u human being u r ….. Tryin 2 protect ur personal intrest 4rm d world. Badluck 2 naija

  10. Iris

    September 17, 2014 at 5:08 am

    So essentially he’s saying “don’t call ebola a problem in Nigeria so that the international community will not say it is a problem.” GEJ’s children don’t go to public school o! The schools they go to are not overpopulated with dirty toilets and plenty of avenues for one sick person to bring terror to hundreds of children. All he has to do is wait an extra month or so so that we are sure that the virus is not incubating is someone’s body. THAT will send a message to the world that we know exactly what we are doing.


    September 17, 2014 at 8:13 am


  12. samira

    September 17, 2014 at 8:25 am

    I cannot believe this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! can you imagine the ratonale here????? what the hel is wrong with this man and his advicers. “In China they are even asking ministers of the Federal Republic to show proof of being free of the disease, and this is quite discouraging.” Is that the issue??????
    Teachers in public schools are saying they dont have the capacity to enforce proper hyginene, public schools do not have good toilets (some dont have toilets at all), no runnign water, much less soap or disinfecting liquids. OH MY GOD, PLEASE HELP US IN NIGERIA, give us an “Abacha-kind-of-deliverance”

  13. chinwe Abayomi-aro

    September 17, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I think our president is right in a way because currently if you tell a foreigner that you are from Nigeria, the first thing he/she talks to you about is-EBOLA.
    I am currently living and working in Bangkok, Thailand and I and my husband had a share in the 21 days quarantine saga as he traveled to Nigeria when the ebola case was really high.
    As i write this now, countries are putting most Nigerians on the observation list for 21 days as we were observed for 21 days also. It’s really a stigma to our dear country.
    I want to thank the federal and state governments for all their efforts to fight the disease. I follow up daily on the ebola case in Nigeria and i am very happy that it is no longer present in Nigeria- at least for now.
    I still think there is a lot to do in schools before asking the students to return to school.. The government should look into the sanitary conditions of these schools. Most schools are not provided with basic amenities and we all know it’s difficult to run away from your sick child. More awareness should be done .

  14. deb

    September 17, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I did not want to read it, I just read all comments. When you realise the level of intelligence in some people, you just run down. GEJ’s administration has played on our intelligence for a long time. People inpower talking like they do not have access to information&come to think of it, it shows how low the standard of education is in Nigeria in a long time. See reasons of LIFE!!!! come to think of it, if a whole president can come out stating this reasons on a matter that threatens national health then don’t blame patience for her utterances…. enuf said

  15. AAA Events & Design

    September 17, 2014 at 10:53 am

    When u take a tour around LEA schools in nigeria u just want to cry and pity the poor masses sending their children there, and thatz why private schools are thriving everyday in Nigeria. Govt shld put things in place to make life easy and better for the common man.

  16. fifi

    September 17, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    My dear,the international community already have a million and one reasons to disrespect Nigerians at their point of entry. Ebola should be the least of your problems with them.Gej should use some of that re-election money to help make the public schools a safe place for these children. Everyone has a right to life .check your civil right constitution

  17. jen

    September 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    It really saddens me that our leaders would consider the slight discomforts they have to face when they travel abroad (to spend Nigeria’s tax payers money BTW) as more important than the lives of our children. More and more I have reason to believe that we are being led by a bunch of ignoramuses who really do not know their right from their left. My sincere apologies to those abroad who had to face that 21 day quarantine scare but what would you rather have? A nation with half the population wiped out because her leaders were more eager to pretend that their country didn’t have a problem (all to decieve the international community) or a nation whose leaders were firm and strong and dealt with the issue at hand like normal human beings without allowing someone’s bruised ego and antiquated methods of doing things affect what is right and just. A side note to our leaders……. The international community know what they need to know and before they send these dispatches to their countries, they do not come to you for information. They go out and get the information themselves. Whereas you sit down and surround yourselves with psychos whose jobs it is to rub your bellies and feed you lies. Now normally I wouldn’t do this but when you choose to put the lives of children at risk, I loose restraint. Stop boxing shadows and fix the problem. It is the teachers and students of PUBLIC schools that we are afraid for . give them what they need and see if you won’t get better support from Nigerians.

    • divine

      September 18, 2014 at 5:52 am

      Will love to knw u more

  18. Rewo Rewo

    September 17, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    GEJ…GEJ..GEJ.. how many times I don call you? Abeg health is wealth, make who wan laugh, dey laugh, close school for now until all cases are tested negative. And tight your borders as you said another mad man might be tempted to enter again. As you dey Aso Rock you non know wetin dey happen for ground. If it happens now you and ur family na overnight flight una go take commot leave poor man to suffer am. The easiest place for this epidermic to spread is through school.. We thank God kid’s from the infected families hasn’t attended school when it happened, if not it would have been a different story by now. Abeg close school and leave politics.

  19. bett

    September 17, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    No abeg mr president is damn wrong the kids shoulds stay at home wat nonsensevnah beacause una children bo get ebola abeg o

  20. Akindele Michael

    September 17, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Hunnn! My dear country people, is it not naunsiating matching the excuse with the reasons of maintaining resumption date?

    Let me say it point blank – our president is totally wrong! We are talking about no nonsense killer here! What is the corroboration between stigmatisation and lost of innocent souls!

    Nigeria population is about 170million. What percentage or fraction of this number is in China or anywhere in the world in totality?

    Ebola had only performed a test experimentation through Mr Sawyer. Suppose one of the contanct is a school child, could you imagine how many family would have been wiped out?

    No recorded case as at present, yes! What about those who died in silence and covered up the shame? Or what explanation do you have for Port Harcourt incidence? Are you sure several has not died through that channel?

    If you say school children should resume, what measure have you put in place to act as guard? How many public school now have screening machine?

    Let school resume tomorrow, my children will be excluded until I am convinced. But it will be another sorry case seeing teacher dying just like the health workers who died while doing what they no best to do and carrying out their statutory duties!

    Our president should have a rethink! His excuse is no geniue in this matter.

    How much stigmatization have we inflicted with if our dear country can not do anything thing to human killer squard called Book Haram? Over two hundred school girl were kidnapped we didn’t talk about stigmatisation. Our police officers, army officers are dying everyday, we did not see stigmatisation in there! Security is in disarray no stigmatization!

    I beggi!

    What are we talking about?
    A jet has been capture by Boko Haram- no stigmatization!!!!!!! Habba! Where are we even heading too?

    Close our public schools for anther oneonth at least and let us have rest of mind!

  21. me

    September 17, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Hmm…true talk @Sylvia what affects one affects all. I’m not even saying the reasons given by Mr president are baseless, all I’m saying is put out reasons everyone can relate with, be convincingly for people to trust that you understand their fears. I’m sorry as important as international image is it doesn’t hit the convincing blow.

  22. Dele

    September 19, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    This is a meaningless govt. How can they not know that if schools resume, some boarding house students who may have had contact with EVD will move to various parts of d country thereby spreading d disease further. For your information not everyone who had contact with EVD is under survellance. The health workers can only place those who they have information about under survellance. I fear for the brainlessness of the people in govt. Does GEJ not know that students in boarding schools who may have had contact with EVD but haven’t developed any symptoms yet will move from PH to Lagos and other parts of the country? SMH seriously!

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