The people of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea wish to thank you and the International Community for championing the on-going political and diplomatic manoeuvres aimed at tackling the Ebola virus which has already claimed so many lives in the Mano River Union. We are quite certain that your bank of wisdom will eventually payoff in controlling the deadly virus within our region and simultaneously stopping it from spreading into others.
Sir, as a people of faith, we believe that natural disasters are intrusive realities of life. No doubt, our people have faced the brunt of this contagion. We are not in position to blame any of our sisterly states for taking stringently preventative measures against the Ebola virus. The crux of the matter however, is in the presentation of our case – we the current victims! Being the official representative that wields the power that can make the case on our behalf, we heavily count on your conventional wisdom, your negotiation skills and the basic humanitarian virtues that bind our brotherhood to make sure that our plight is given the urgency that it deserves. The Economic Committee of West African States (ECOWAS) – through its military wing the ECOMOG – had earlier been able to establish its credentials when it played a crucial role in bringing the rebel war that devastated the same region to a successful end. The enemy this time might be more insensitive and more deadly in nature, but we are confident that ECOWAS has more than what it takes to defeat the Ebola virus. And with President Obama potentially throwing his hat in the ring, it’s just a matter of time for the Ebola virus to be conquered.
Sir, in such a life-saving mission, the issue of essential medical supplies should no doubt top the list of our immediate requests. As evidently demonstrated by the late Sierra Leonean Virologist, Dr. Umar Khan, [God bless his soul!], our societies can boast of heroic volunteers who are ready to risk their lives in order to save those of the masses! The availability of the medical equipment in the form of gloves, facial masks, protective suits, chlorine, blood, fluids, needles etc. will encourage more volunteers to treat those already affected and at the same time help the general populace take adequate precautionary measures.
Also top on your relief efforts should be the adverse economic repercussions that our respective governments would potentially have to endure. Sierra Leone and Liberia have been forced to implement a State of Public Emergency because of the alarming rate at which the virus is spreading. The decision was a difficult one but it was necessary under the circumstances.
This directly implies that there will be strict restrictions in the movement of goods and services from the rural to the urban areas. There is, as a result, an imminent shortage in agricultural products and staple foodstuffs in the short term. The feeling of insecurity can induce businessmen to resort to the hoarding of essential goods. As normally the case with disaster-hit regions all over the world, it will be of great importance if the socio-economic plight of our people is also taken into consideration when making the case on our behalf!
Sir, our current state of despair has left us with no other option but to understand the uncompromising measures being implemented by our sisterly states in the region. The fact of the matter is that, most of these measures, which have now been translated into zero-tolerance policies, threaten to further isolate our nations into dire straits, and at the same time, provide readily convenient examples for other nations to temporarily follow suit. Notwithstanding, we still crave your professional indulgence in getting these policies to be directed more towards scientifically proven justifications to avoid unwarranted labelling, as it happened recently in Seychelles against the national football team of Sierra Leone. Undoubtedly, there’s a real danger for the effects of such isolation to even cripple our economies, and stretch our social structures further to breaking point!
When international flights to the region are being cancelled, holiday-makers, business associates, development partners, humanitarian organizations and many more volunteers are forced to change plans. Your intervention at this stage will be monumental in creating the need for experts to help calm the hysteria by regularly monitoring the situation. Taking the bold initiative to request for a more commanding presence of the World Health Organization and other credible organizations will help immensely in allaying unwarranted fears.
History will bear witness to the fact that ECOWAS has always worked gallantly in pursuit of sustainable democratic ideals and the restoration of a normal social order in the region. Even when the enemy this time is faceless, we still believe that our regional broker will once again be up to the task and prove its mettle of worthiness!
Thank you for your vital attention!