These are not the best of times for roasted bush meat sellers out there whose means of livelihood are being threatened by the Ebola Virus Disease which literally flew into the country on July 20 from Monrovia, Liberia.The dreaded disease arrived in Lagos on that day when a Liberian/American, Patrick Sawyer already infected landed at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja and shortly after collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital where he was confirmed to have been infected with the virus. He died a few days. Two of the medical personnel that attended to him later tested positive to the virus, one of them, the nurse later died.And since that incident, business has gone down for bush meat sellers as their customers, out of fear of contracting Ebola whose origin has been traced to certain bush meat commonly eaten in West Africa, have been boycotting their delicacies, some opting for fish.In these hard times, one can imagine what these sellers are going through now trying to put food on the table for their families against the odds. And with help not likely to come from any source, one can only pray that a solution to Ebola would be found quickly before it becomes an epidemic.While our sympathies go to these unfortunate bush meat sellers, our condolence to the family of the late nurse who like other brave medical personnel dared Ebola by attending to Sawyer, even at the risk of their personal health.The ease at which Sawyer was able to import the virus into the country without being detected even when he knew he had been infected back home in Liberia raises doubt about the ability of our Port Health authorities to detect and prevent the importation of dangerous/infectious diseases into the country. It also calls into question the kind of cooperation (if any) existing between health authorities across the West African sub region.Quite annoying was the revelation that the Liberian authorities knew or suspected that Sawyer was carrying the virus and they could not stop him from flying into Nigeria, even when they knew he was heading to Lagos. And if they couldnt stop him at home why not alert their Nigerian counterpart that Sawyer was heading to our country and he should immediately be quarantined on arrival. Now the failure or inability of the Liberian government to do what every responsible government should do to safeguard public health has thrown Nigeria into trouble over this Ebola outbreak.If there is nothing in the ECOWAS protocol to compel governments in the sub region to prevent exportation of diseases from their country to other member states, then the Authorities of Heads of States and Governments should act fast to review the laws where necessary. The founding fathers of ECOWAS probably did not for see an Ebola outbreak or a trans-West Africa public health crisis when they agreed on the protocol in the 70s. It is about time we took a second look at the relevant provisions of the protocol, including those dealing with cross border crimes like armed robbery and terrorism, and even the 90 days residency without visa/work permit.The ECOWAS protocol has encouraged free movement of people and goods across the sub region by citizens of ECOWAS but the downside of this unfettered freedom of movement is the freedom to move about with deadly diseases like Ebola and most tragic of all, the freedom to spread terror like Boko Haram. Something has to be done and urgently too.But if Liberia couldnt do what she supposed to do to prevent exportation of such diseases as Ebola to Nigeria or any other country, did that also excuse the Nigerian government from protecting her citizens from such dangers as Ebola' I mentioned Port Health earlier; in an ideal society this body should be the leading the fight against importation of all forms of diseases into the country. But is this body capable of protecting Nigerians' I have my doubt. And I will tell you why.In most parts of the world a yellow card is expected from travelers at the point of entry into their destinations. The card is supposed to confirm your status as regards immunization against some diseases. West Africa is an endemic region for Yellow Fever and other forms of malaria, hence all travelers from Nigeria and other ECOWAS member states are expected to be vaccinated against the disease before they could be allowed to enter another country. But you can get that card in Nigeria from any of our public hospitals, Health Centres, Local Government headquarters and the Port Health without being vaccinated.So if we can give a clean bill of health to someone who is probably infected with a dangerous disease without testing his health status, how can we then prevent someone with dangerous disease from entering the country, since we are not averse to exporting such' Until we stop and arrest our crooked ways people like Sawyer will continue to bring diseases like Ebola to us.I am sure if the man from Liberia had not collapsed on arrival, he would have entered the country freely and spread the disease to God knows how many Nigerians he would have had contact with before being struck down by the ailment. The fact that a flight was coming from an Ebola infested country should have alerted our health authorities to quarantine all passengers on board that flight for any sign of the disease. How many flights had arrived Lagos from Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and the other countries similarly affected by Ebola before the one that brought Sawyer into our country' Did we bother to check them' It is not unlikely that many people carrying the virus had been flown in from these countries before the July 20 flight that brought Sawyer; where are they now'It has often been said that we attach little value to human lives in this country as a few deaths here and there, even in their thousands no longer mean anything to us. A responsible and responsive government would have placed restrictions on all flights coming from these Ebola infested countries the moment the outbreak of the disease was reported there. But here in Nigeria, our government and its agencies had to wait until Ebola was flown into our country before they could act; and by then it was rather late, what a shame. Ebola is here with us now. How do we fight it'Even when the affected state called on the Federal Government to close our borders with some of our neighbours, the call was treated as a political talk coming from the opposition and it was dismissed. Now we are somehow in a crisis. May be if we had closed the borders that would have at least sent a message to our neighbours to act fast against the spread of the disease. I havent heard Benin Republic say anything yet, but if Ebola gets into that country or is already there and nothing is being done, then Lagos is in trouble. And if the disease becomes an epidemic in Lagos then Nigeria is in trouble. And if anything happens to Nigeria, West Africa is gone. It is as simple as that.I agree this is no time to apportion blame as all hands must be on deck to fight the Ebola Virus Disease. Wherever the cure/drug is Nigeria must get it, no matter the cost. We cannot afford an Ebola epidemic. It is too grave to contemplate.]]> Click here to read full news..