Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has recommended sanctions for Kenya Airways for flying in an unaccompanied body of a Nigerian man who died in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
The body flown into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, on Monday, 22, tested negative for the Ebola virus.
Prof. Adewole, who confirmed the development said that a test was carried out and had tested negative for the virus, but he refused to divulge the cause of the deceased’s death, citing medical confidentiality.
According to THISDAY, the corpse of a young man was flown in onboard a Kenya Airways flight and quarantined the Port Health Services (PHS) to ascertain if the death of the deceased was caused the Ebola virus, since the DRC is currently facing another outbreak of the deadly haemorrhagic fever.
In order not to cause panic in the country, Prof. Adewole was immediately contacted to ascertain if the dead person might have died as a result of the Ebola virus. The minister on Tuesday confirmed that the body was moved to the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital (LUTH) for immediate tests where it tested negative to Ebola.
“We have conducted tests in LUTH and it is negative for Ebola Virus Disease. We shall however remain vigilant,” the minister said in a text message to THISDAY immediately after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of the cabinet in Abuja.
It was further revealed that Kenya Airways dumped the unaccompanied corpse in the basement of the terminal. As of Tuesday evening, the body had not been identified and no relative of the deceased turned up to claim it.
It was on this basis that the body was seized the officials of Nigerian Customs Service who invited officials of PHS at the airport to examine the corpse. An informed source told THISDAY:
“I can confirm that a body was brought in yesterday (Monday) Kenya Airways and we heard the body came in from the DRC and when the body arrived it was seized Customs.”
Although the report of the test result was negative, it was learnt that concerned aviation authority officials have written to Kenya Airways and reprimanded the airline.
They were said to have informed the airline that it should not have brought the corpse to Nigeria at a time the Ebola disease has resurfaced in the DRC. A source with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) also confirmed that the agency was investigating the incident “within the ambit of the law. An airline operator who expressed shock at the incident said the NCAA should first of all suspend Kenya Airways from operating in Nigeria forthwith.
“What Kenya Airways has done is extremely unprofessional and they should be punished for it so that in the future nobody would try that,” the operator said.