by Bassey Inyang
Residents of Nsefik Layout, located off Marian Road in Calabar Metropolis have demanded the relocation of Calabar Drill Ranch that is in the area.
Their demand stems from the reported spread of the Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, which some health experts have traced to animals including primates.
In their demand for the relocation of the Calabar Drill Ranch, residents of the area told journalists in Calabar yesterday that the presence of the facility close to their residential buildings was very dangerous and unsafe.
They expressed fears that since primate has been mentioned by medical experts as one of the vectors of Ebola Virus, they were afraid that residents could be infected by it as a result of the location of the Calabar Drill Ranch in the area.
A representative of the residents who gave his name as Mr. Effiong Okon, said residents of the area have been living in fear since the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease.
He said, “These animals are not supposed to be living in the midst of human beings, especially when monkeys are known to be one of the vertebrate animals that transmit the Ebola virus.
“I appeal to the authorities to consider the health challenges posed by this ranch and relocate it to another place.”
Another resident of the area, Miss Rose Akpan, said: “We live in fear now, because nobody knows what to do with the presence of these animals here. The State Ministry of Health should cause the owner of the ranch to relocate it as soon as possible to save the people.
“This should be a challenge to the state government in view of the present Ebola scourge.”
Reacting to the fears expressed by the residents, Director of the Calabar Drill Ranch, Liza Gadsby, assured them that they were not at any risk of contracting the Ebola Virus from the primates, which she said were not carriers of the dreaded virus.
Gadsby said, “Primates are not actual carriers of Ebola. They fall victims to it just like we do, so we are equally concerned about protecting our animals as well as our staff and ourselves and members of the public.
“Our concern is that we get visitors here at Drill Ranch from all over the world and West Africa and when they come, the tourism bureau bring official visitors of the state here just as part of the Calabar tour”.
“But, our concern is people coming in and protecting ourselves, animals, staff and everybody but we have very strict protocols in place because you may not know what a person or animal is carrying.
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