Via Vanguard: Ebola: Nation's land borders remain porous. Excerpt:
Efforts by Nigeria to contain the out-break of Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, in the country, may come to nought as Vanguard investigations revealed that peoples move seamlessly through the nation’s land borders without screening for EVD.
Though travellers at the airports are screened at the point of entry, nothing of such takes place at the land borders.
A visit to Seme border shows free movement of immigrants across both the Nigerian and Benin Republic sides of the border unhindered.
To worsen the threat, security operatives and others at the Seme border were seen performing their duties without protective gear like hand-gloves or infra-red thermometre guns.
Though officials of Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, and Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS were seen wearing gloves and Port Health Control, PHC, kitted and armed with instruments believed to be infra-red thermometre guns, they were not using them.
Most times, those wearing hand gloves and having other instruments were seen idling without putting their instruments into use.
However, officials of the PHC, NIS and NCS insisted that they were doing everything to ensure that victims of EVD did not come into the country through Seme.
One PHC official told Vanguard that they had instruction only to concentrate on passengers coming into the country in organised vehicles.
According to the official, most of those moving in and out of the country were Seme residents who cross the border daily.
He said every passenger or student coming into the country was made to fill a form which gives details of names, address, phone number, email, among others, to help track anyone suspected to have the virus.
Officer-in-charge of PHS at the border, Emmanuel Onile, told Vanguard that he was not permitted to speak on the issue and directed Vanguard to Ikeja where the director of PHS, Lagos State, Dr. Alex Okoh, has his offices.
However, a senior official of PHC attributed the easy crossing at the border from both sides to the fact that residents of Seme lived on both sides of the border (Krake Seme and Ponji Seme).
This, according to the official, was also supported by Economic Community of West African State, ECOWAS, treaty of free movement.