LETTER: Nigeria is determined to build a brighter future

editorial cartoon5Sir, William Wallis (“Nigeria saw off Ebola but fraud and Boko Haram plague the country”, Global Insight, October 21) is correct to describe Nigeria’s handling of the Ebola outbreak as a “resounding victory”. The World Health Organisation sang the praises of its “world class epidemiological detective work” in managing the deadly disease, and last Monday Nigeria was officially declared Ebola free. And this is not the first pandemic the country is confronting head-on. However, contrary to Mr Wallis’s assessment, Nigeria is working hard to combat the spread of violent extremism. This should not go unrecognised.

There is no question that Nigeria faces significant challenges, and that there is much still to be done. But in choosing to blame Nigeria’s supposed inability to tackle terror partly on a lack of “collective will”, Mr Wallis appears to ignore a significant part of the story. It is difficult to know exactly whose lack of collective will he refers to. Perhaps that of the Nigerian authorities currently locked in negotiations to release the Chibok girls? Or that of the brave Nigerian forces risking their lives to save those of potential terror victims?

The people of Nigeria, and the current administration, would likely be the first to point out the significant challenges the country currently faces. But this should not detract from the commendable work being done on multiple front lines – whether by doctors and nurses risking their lives to save those of Ebola victims, or by those directly involved in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency. It took a potent combination of political will, local knowledge and swift action to bring the Nigerian Ebola pandemic to its knees. It’s not always done with huge fanfare, and the enemy may have different guises, but whether it’s a deadly outbreak or a terrorist insurgency, Nigeria remains determined to build a brighter future.

Sven Hughes

London SW11, UK