The Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Alfonso Barnuevo, on Wednesday in Abuja opposed temporary ban on flights to Spain from the Ebola-affected countries in West Africa.
Speaking to reporters in Abuja, Barnuevo said the Spanish Government had adhered to guidelines and protocols issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) since the Ebola outbreak.
“WHO has said it very clearly, countries should not be isolated; everybody has to take precautions but countries should not be isolated,’’ he told reporters.
The ambassador said countries that shut their borders because of Ebola were likely to grapple with food and human security, and difficulty in distributing the much-needed medical equipment.
Barnuevo said his home government and health authorities were doing their best to contain the spread of Ebola after a Spanish nurse in Madrid was infected with the deadly virus.
He praised Nigerian health authorities for doing “a marvellous job’’ in containing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the country.
“Nigeria has been a case of success, following and tracing the people who had contact with a person infected with Ebola.
“Ebola is not something that affects four or five countries; it is something that affects the whole international community.
“Nigeria did a marvelous job, really an outstanding job and Nigerians should be very proud of the amount of job done,’’ he said.
He said from Nigeria’s response to the outbreak, he had learnt the “importance of tracking, information and the importance of not stigmatizing the people who had Ebola.”
He said Nigeria’s ability to contain Ebola meant that “there is hope at the end of the tunnel,’’ from the outbreak that had killed some 3,439 people out of 7,478 cases.
The current outbreak has been reported in five West African nations including Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal, according to the WHO.
Barnuevo cautioned Nigeria against complacency, saying “that doesn’t mean it can’t happen again, it can happen again.’’
“But we (the international community) must work for vaccines, remedy and I think that is the way to go about it,’’ he said.
The Spanish envoy also told reporters that his country was looking forward to being elected to a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council during elections in New York on October 16th.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three states from the Western European group (New Zealand, Spain and Turkey) have announced their interests in Western Europe’s two available seats at the council.
Asked whether Nigeria is supporting Spain’s bid for the Security Council’s seat, the ambassador said it would be “impolite’’ to let out if Nigeria had given support to his country’s bid or not.
“What is important to say is that we are one of the countries that understand most the continent of Africa.
“We are very close (geographically), Canary Islands which is a territory of Spain, is 15 kilometers from the territory of Morocco.
“We have a long presence in Africa and we have cooperation as a core issue in our foreign policy,’’ he said.
According to the ambassador, Spain has committed 500 million Euros between 2004 and 2011 to promote gender equality and water and conflict resolution through multilateral development organizations.
Photo Credit: NAN-PHOTO