Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, says it is time the federal government suspends flights from countries that have been affected by the coronavirus.
Nigeria on Friday confirmed its first case of the virus in Lagos, and became the 52nd country with a positive case of the virus.
Reacting in a statement, Atiku said Nigeria needs firm and decisive actions to prevent an escalation of the scourge in the country.
“We must call upon our experience with the Wild Ebola Virus, of which we were the first nation in the world to defeat that scourge in 2014. How did Nigeria do it? We achieved it by showing unprecedented unity,” he said.
“The federal government of the day, worked closely with the Lagos and Rivers state governments. There was complete unity, solidarity and oneness of purpose, which created the atmosphere that defeated that deadly infestation.
“I strongly counsel that any tendency to blame and point fighters must be temporarily, if not permanently, suspended. If fingers must be pointed, it must be to solutions.
“Nigeria needs firm and decisive actions to prevent an escalation of the scourge. Recently, we closed our borders as an act against economic sabotage. Perhaps now is the time to temporarily halt flights to and from any nation with a prevalence of this scourge. It is more important to secure human lives, than to secure an economy. We also need to invest in early detection facilities at our airports.
“But above all, Nigeria must not panic. Whether at government or individual levels. We have defeated Ebola before and we can defeat this present predicament.”
The former vice-president said the crisis is an opportunity to show that Nigerians are united and have no other country, and therefore should work together in keeping the country healthy.
Some of the countries where cases of the disease have been confirmed include Australia, Cambodia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, US and Vietnam.
Following the outbreak, the federal government had in January intensified screening at the airport.