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Published On: Thu, Aug 21st, 2014

Ebola: Board plans multiple screenings for intending pilgrims

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By Stanley Onyekwere

To ensure Nigerian pilgrims are not mistreated over unconfirmed health risks, Christians intending to visit Israel for religious purposes will undergo multiple medical screenings to be carried out by the Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board (CPWB), before boarding the flight for the exercise.

The minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oloye, Olajumoke Akinjide, dropped the hint yesterday, during the

inauguration ceremony of the Ministerial Committee on FCT 2014 Pilgrimage under the chairmanship of Senator Philip Aduda.

She said special arrangements are being made at the highest level of governance to ensure that Nigeria citizens are not embarrassed by their host country or other national for unfounded medical fears.

This is coming against the backdrop of reported cases of mistreatment

of Nigerians traveling outside the country, due to the ongoing battle against Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) crisis in the country.

According to the minister, unlike before, “this time we are going to screen everybody and give them a clean bill of health before they will be allowed to board the plane for the pilgrimage.

“I can assure that the entire pilgrim will undergo thorough screening. It will be more intensive than it used to be because before, we were just concerned with people who may have threatening health challenges like hypertension diabetes or pregnancy being assessed to see if they can make the journey.

“I believe the consultation is going on by the National Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board and, it is also going on by the National Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board because we are undergoing both pilgrimages almost at the same time.

“We have to make sure that our people are free of anything that will be of health hazards to citizens of any nation. It (Ebola crisis) never over until it is over; and because FCT pilgrims come from all over the nation, from all the 36 states and the FCT, we need to be extra vigilant as far as FCT pilgrims are concerned.”

She therefore urged the committee to ensure that special arrangement should be made in line with the present challenge facing the country, which the government is cautiously hopeful that the virus has been contained and being eliminated.

 

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