From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna The down Quarters Community in Kaduna-South local government area of Kaduna state has vowed to use all available means to reject the proposed location of Ebola quarantine area within its community.
The chairman of the Down Quarters Association, Mr. James Ojo disclosed this while speaking during a protest by the communities to the Kaduna South local government area. According to Mr. Ojo, the first thought the proposed site was like any other rumors until officials from the Ministry of Health started visiting the Primary Health Care facility located within the community.
This, he said aroused the suspicion of the people who confronted them why the sudden visit to the health facility which has been abandoned by the local government for years and they got the shock of their lives when they were told that the government intended to use the area as a disease control area including HIV/AIDs and Ebola patients. “The community was not comfortable with the development, and as if that is not enough, the Commissioner of Health in Kaduna state, Dr. Joseph Thot and his permanent secretary visited the facility and even refused to give any explanation for their visit to the community. “The next thing we saw is that the Deputy Governor, Amb. Audu Nuhu Bajoga, Commissioner of Health and a white lady came to the facility which was opened to them; they went around and left without any word, so that is why when we met, we decided to embark on this peaceful protest because without us there is no government. No reasonable government will jeopardize the health of its people by locating Ebola quarantine facility within their community,” he said. Speaking in the same vein, the village head of down quarters, Alhaji Shu’aibu Mohammed said as the traditional ruler in charge of the community, he expected the government and ministry of health officials to inform him of their plan; but they kept mute only for us to hear that it is a disease control area. Alhaji Shu’aibu added that if it is any other disease the community would not be bothered, but when they mentioned Ebola all the people became scared based on what they have heard and read about Ebola virus. The chief security officer of the community, Malam Ahmed Yusuf in his own reaction, said down quarters is a mini-Nigeria and a community that has enjoyed peace and stability in the face of riots and uprising in Kaduna State.
He wondered why Kaduna state government is trying to disturb the peace of the community by locating Ebola quarantine or diseases control centre in their community.
He advised the Kaduna state government to think twice. “The first market in Kaduna metropolis is located here. The first timber market is here. We’ve been leaving in a slum but we’ve endured because the government abandoned us. But today, they only remembered down quarters because they’re looking for people who can be infected with Ebola by locating the quarantine facility within their community. We don’t want it, we want them to take it another site,” Malam Yusuf said.