Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has frown at foreign governments for denying citizens of Ebola-affected countries entry into their countries. Minister Ngafuan said many Liberia in the Diasporas were facing serious difficulties from the immigration and security of foreign countries as a result of the Ebola virus.
Foreign flights to the country were suspended, while countries began rejecting Liberian citizens entering into their country following the death of the Liberian-American, Patrick sawyer in Nigeria as the direct result of the deadly Ebola virus disease upon his arrival from Liberia.
Speaking Wednesday at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism during its daily press conference, Minister Ngafuan indicated that Liberian has, on numerous occasions, risen up against the ill-treatment and stigmatization of its citizens by these countries with protests and complaints, describing such attitudes as wrongful.
He cited the story of a Liberian lady- Boffah Kollie, who complained to the Foreign Ministry about being denied entry at the airport of the country to which she was heading for graduate studies in Medicine.
“When I submitted my Liberian passport to the immigration and security authorities at the airport, they picked me up and placed me in an isolated room. When I asked why I was denied entry, they said to me that I was form an Ebola affected country. I asked that they conduct the necessary medical examination as may be required, but they refused; I was humiliated and dehumanized in the terminal, and put on a plane with a mask covering my nose, my mouth and placed in the back of the plane with the huge escort of immigration and security personnel till I reached Roberts International Airport,” a Foreign Ministry statement quoted the Ms. Kollie as narrating to Minister Ngafuan.
Minister Ngafuan, in the Foreign Ministry statement, pointed out that the ordeal of Ms. Kollie was typical of the many other cases of maltreatment of Liberians that spring from blanket stigmatization, adding that in many of these situations, those perpetrating these harsh measures do not accommodate such particularities as whether or not the Liberian passport holder had in fact been in Liberia over the past one month or whether the passport holder had come in close contact with any infected person.
He said these actions by foreign countries are instead, premises on the shaky assumption that one’s “Liberianness” was a problem. The Foreign Minister did not name a particular country.