Dr. Stephane Ighedosa, the Coordinator of the Disease Control Centre of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), has called for the cancellation of the friendly match between Nigeria and DR Congo on Monday, May 28th, in Port Harcourt.
In an exclusive chat, she asserted that it has become imperative for the country’s football authorities to shelve the match on account of the outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease in the DRC.
She warns that the deadly disease knows no boundaries and as such could be a big problem if it is contacted and allowed to spread in Nigeria.
“The call for our footballers (Super Eagles) not to honour the match with the Congolese national team is a timely and useful one. What is the essence of the football match if the risk is overwhelming? We can forgive it to save the lives of many of our countrymen and women.
“It wouldn’t be good for us to go through another vicious circle which we had the first time broken in the country. We should have learnt our lessons from then. The debate is an opportunity to articulate the things we have learnt and keep away from danger.
“It’s a way of making us follow the right path of preventable issues relating to the disease. What we should be singing now is the song of prevention. Can we make use of control measures to prevent the deadly disease from spreading widely? The beauty of the debate is that the disease should not be allowed to enter the country’s borders,” she said.
Ighedosa insisted that government should be more sensitive to this appeal before it boomerangs. “Instead of trying to find a way to control the spread of the disease let us stop it. We should sacrifice anything that will lead to us contacting it. We don’t want it because the memories of its spread the last time are still fresh enough and we don’t want it to repeat itself.
Like every other thing people would have forgotten what to do to curb it. What really helped us was the effective mobilisation of the citizens. Everyone rose up like soldiers and together we fought the scourge out of the country. Let’s be clear of the level of risk that is involved. It’s better for us to err on the side of caution,” she noted.