In order to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the country, Arik Air has suspended flight operations to Monrovia (Liberia) and Freetown (Sierra Leone) effective today.
This came as First Consultants Medical Centre Limited, the hospital where the 40-year-old Liberian died of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Lagos, yesterday revealed how it prevented the disease from spreading to parts of the country.
According to a statement issued by the airline in Lagos and signed by its media officer, Mr. Ola Banji, the disease which was officially confirmed in Lagos last week, killed a Liberian national who flew into the country from Monrovia via Lome (Togo) last week.
The airline said with this, the suspension would be in force until further notice.
It added that the decision was a pre-cautionary measure aimed at safeguarding the precious lives of Nigerians.
“Arik Air is taking this important step as a concerned corporate citizen, bearing the interest of Nigerians at heart. We acknowledge the steps that the Federal Government of Nigeria is currently undertaking to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. However, we feel especially compelled to take the business decision to immediately suspend flight services into the two Ebola affected countries due to our interest in the well being of Nigerians.
“At the early stages of the contagion’s development across West Africa, the Gambian government took the proactive decision to stop airlines (including Arik Air) from bringing inbound passengers from Monrovia, Conakry (Guinea) and Freetown into Banjul. Arik Air is taking this important step as a concerned corporate citizen bearing the interest of Nigerians at heart. We acknowledge the steps that the Federal Government of Nigeria is currently undertaking to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. However, we feel especially compelled to take the business decision to immediately suspend flight services into the two Ebola affected countries due to our interest in the well being of Nigerians.
Hence, in line with the actions taken by the Gambian government, we trust that the Federal Government of Nigeria shall take all steps necessary to control and curtail the spread of the virus.
“We humbly suggest that as a first step, all inbound flights into Nigeria which originate from any of the Ebola affected countries, be immediately suspended. At Arik Air, our core vision and purpose is, ‘to provide world-class experiences and services which are safe, reliable and continually contribute towards improved quality of life as well as the elevation of Nigeria’s global standing.”’
Motivated by this guiding principle, we would therefore like to assure our guests (and indeed all Nigerians) that their continued safety shall always be at the forefront of all business decisions taken by Arik Air. Fly safe, fly well, fly Arik Air,” the statement noted.
Meanwhile, in a statement signed by the Chief Consultant and Medical Director, Dr. B.N. Ohiaeri and the Senior Consultant and Endocrinologist, Dr. A.S. Adadevoh and obtained by THISDAY, the hospital located at Ikoyi Road, Obalende, Lagos, said its effort to keep the patient confined in the hospital, against intense pressure from his organisation to release him to attend an important assignment in Calabar, Cross River State, saved the nation from an imminent spread of the highly infectious disease.
“We refused for him to be let out of the hospital in spite of the intense pressure, as we were told that he was a senior ECOWAS official and had an important role to play at the ECOWAS convention in Calabar,” the hospital said.
“We hope that by our action of preventing this gentleman from being extracted from our hospital and travelling to Calabar, we have been able to prevent the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria,” the statement added.