Ebola: The Ripple Effect

Based loosely on currently Happening Events


A tear dropped from his left eye as he thought about Anna again. How could she be dead? How? Anna, the best sister anyone could ever have. Anna, his only sister … who made so many sacrifices to ensure he went to college and become the man he is today.

Anna. Dead.

What is this life?

“Tea or coffee sir…?” Munachi – the air hostess – asked, snapping him out of his reverie. He dried his eyes and gestured towards coffee. He nodded his thanks as she gave it to him and went about her business.

He took a sip of the scalding hot beverage and didn’t even flinch. All he could think of was Anna and how he wept over her cold dead body. He had flown to Monrovia immediately he was told that she was seriously ill. The doctors had initially refused to allow him see her, saying it was unsafe, but one look at them and they obliged. Patrick was a big man. In Liberia and other African countries, big men always had their way.

That all seemed like years ago though. He had given her a quick burial and was now on his way back to Nigeria. He took another sip of the coffee and this time he felt as it burned his tongue. He let out a tiny whelp and dropped the mug. It shattered, spilling its content everywhere. He quickly made to pick up the shards, but cut his forefinger in the process. He put the finger in his mouth and sucked the blood as Munachi came to his aid.

“So sorry sir,” she apologized. “Are you alright?” she gestured towards his forefinger. He nodded, stood up, and went to the restroom.

The cut wasn’t too deep, but he had plenty of blood in him, so the red liquid flowed. He picked up a Kleenex and pressed on it. It became bloodied in seconds. He dropped the tissue in the toilet bowl and collected another. After the third Kleenex, the blood had almost stopped flowing. He pressed the knob and watched as the toilet flushed. He did not notice the tiny drops of blood he left on the knob. He turned on the tap, washed his hand and turned it off. He did not notice the blood he left on the tap head either. He dried his hand and left the toilet. Munachi had cleaned up when he got back to his seat. She offered another cup of coffee but he declined and, suddenly cold, he asked for a blanket instead. She obliged him – some of the perks of not flying economy class.


Bishop Samuel Ndah of Royal Diadem Ministries had gone to Monrovia to minister at the Liberian branch of his church. It was a power packed 3 day crusade that ended with miracles, signs, wonders, and some extra dollars in his off-shore bank account. He was going to Australia in two weeks to set up another branch there.

The ministry was seriously moving. The Lord is good.

He used the toilet a few minutes after Patrick did. Of cause he washed his hand thoroughly. One of his favorite quotes was ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’, and as a Bishop of Christ, he always practiced what he preached. When he turned the tap head to close it though, he did not notice the drops of blood his fingers collected. He ate Kentucky Fried Chicken and Chips a few minutes later; chicken so good he licked his fingers afterwards, and washed it down with a bottle of the cold orange juice Munachi served him.

Two other business-class passengers used the toilet during the 165minutes flight.


Patrick was sweating when the plane landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. He was sweating and shivering slightly. Munachi wanted to call the airport paramedics but he refused. He explained that he’d just buried his only sister and the past week had been hectic. It was probably fever with a shot of jet-lag. She obliged, called Aisha, her colleague, and they helped him disembark. He almost fell when they made to leave him on the tarmac. He steadied himself and told them he was fine. They left him and went back into the plane. He sort of staggered to the customs area and gave the immigration officer his passport.

The officer scrutinized Patrick’s travel papers and returned them to him. The Liberian was walking into the arrival lounge when he collapsed in a heap. It was like a joke. For a few seconds nobody reacted. Then somebody yelled and all hell broke loose.

“What happened to him? Who is he? How did it happen?” Everybody seemed to be asking at the same time as a small crowd gathered around Patrick. Jemila, an Airport security woman pushed her way through and asked everyone to back off. She checked his pulse and proceeded to give him CPR. She was doing the mouth to mouth resuscitation thing when paramedics arrived and put him on their stretcher. They took him straight to the Airport clinic, while somebody checked Patrick’s wallet for his ID. They found he was a Liberian and worked in the Liberian Embassy. They called the consulate and informed them that their countryman had collapsed in the Airport. The Liberian high commissioner immediately had him transferred to First Consultant Clinics, a private hospital at Obalende.



Dr Abdullah Isah, the Chief Medical Officer of First Consultants Hospital had just begun a complex 7 hours marathon surgery on a 13 year old boy’s lungs when Patrick was wheeled in. After the successful operation, he had taken a 6 hour break. When he came back, he started his usual ward rounds with Dr Abiye – the doctor on duty. They got to the Liberian’s ward and Dr Abiye gave his boss the man’s case file. A quick glance at it and he had an idea what was ailing the man. He pulled Dr Abiye to one side and told him in confidence what he suspected was the cause of Patrick’s ailment.

Ebola Virus.

Dr Abiye’s jaw dropped. “Jesus,” he exclaimed. “Jesus!” He had been at the waiting room when Patrick was wheeled in. He had checked his vitals and placed him on drips and stabilizers pending when a proper diagnosis was carried out. He had been in close contact with a probable carrier of the deadliest disease on earth at the moment. “Jesus!”

Dr Abdullah immediately had Patrick quarantined in a private ward. He also had every member of his staff who had been in close contact with the Liberian quarantined in another ward. He didn’t want to start a panic so he didn’t say why he was taking those measures. He just instructed the other staff not to go into those two wards without face masks, surgical gloves and disposable gowns. He called the Lagos State Ministry of Health and informed the receiver he might have a case of the Ebola Virus in his hospital. He was transferred to the commissioner of health himself who asked what had been done so far. He brought the big man up to speed and was told to maintain the status quo while the minister of health himself was informed.

Unfortunately Dr Abdullah was working with smart people. Someone put two and two together and the word ‘Ebola’ was mentioned. Less than twenty minutes later, the normally full waiting room was almost empty. Family and friends of patients who heard the rumors came and retrieved their wards. Non-Medical staff who didn’t want to risk being around a virus that dangerous suddenly became ill and asked for permission to go home. They had no plan to return until it was safe to do so.

The three nurses and two porters who were on duty when Patrick was wheeled in had gone home to their families before Dr Abdullah made his analysis. In the midst of the chaos, nobody remembered them.

Someone tweeted about the incidence, someone else retweeted it, and in minutes, the news went viral.

Ebola Virus was in Nigeria.


Munachi woke up with a nagging headache; very unusual because she almost never fell sick. She glanced at the clock, 7:19am. How did she wake up this late? She was supposed to be on the 11am Kenyan flight, and by Lagos traffic standards, she was late.

She jumped out of the bed, then fell right back in. Her head felt like someone was pounding yam in it. She waited a few minutes, then stood up again, slowly. She went through her morning routines at that pace and was ready to leave by 8:30. Nduka, her cabman had been waiting for her since 8am, the time she’d asked him to come.

“Nne, ogini…?” he asked her in igbo, when he noticed how much pain she seemed to be in.

“Onwe gi,” she replied and forced a smile, as he collected her bag and helped her into the car.

They were halfway to the Airport when she knew for certain she would be unable to fly. She called her supervisor and told him her condition. He almost yelled at her bad timing. Aisha had called in sick earlier and he had only just gotten her replacement. But remembering how hardworking Munachi usually was, he told her to go to a clinic and treat herself.

Munachi asked Nduka to take her to any good pharmacy around so she could get drugs. He found one soon enough, drove in, parked, and helped her get into the building. His phone rang and he went outside to answer it. He was negotiating fares for a trip with another customer when people inside the Pharmacy started screaming. He craned his neck to see what was happening and saw Munachi sprawled on the floor. He ended the call and rushed in.

“Wetin happen…?” he yelled to no one in particular. “Aunty Muna, ogini…?” he cradled her in his arms. “Aunty Muna….” he shook her. No response. “What happen’?” he looked up and asked again. Before he could get any response, the owner of the Pharmacy came out of a side room and asked him to bring her in. He lifted her up and took her in, leaving a trail of blood in his wake. He laid her on the bed and left the medics in the room with her. “Wetin happen?” he asked the nurse at the counter.

“She just fell down o,” the visibly shaken woman replied. “She was telling me she had headache when she suddenly fell down. Is she your wi…” she looked him up and down “…is she your madam?” she asked, immediately concluding he couldn’t be such a beautiful lady’s spouse.

He followed the direction of her eyes and noticed the blood stains on his shirt. “Blood…” he muttered. “Where this blood come from?” The nurse pointed at the spot Munachi had lain a few moments ago. There was almost a pool where her head had been. Nduka started sobbing. A few minutes later, an ambulance arrived.

Munachi died on the way to the hospital. The official cause of death was ‘Intracranial Hemorrhage secondary to head trauma from a fall with associated skull fracture and scalp bleeding’. Nobody asked why she fell in the first place. Nigerian Doctors were on strike. The few who were available had too much work on their hands.

Nduka, the pharmacist, the cleaner at the pharmacy, the paramedics and the mortuary attendants – about 8 persons – were in direct contact with Munachi’s body fluids.



Jemila was breastfeeding her five month old son when she felt like going to the toilet again – for the 4th time that morning. She passed the baby to her mother-in-law and went to relieve herself. When she came out she complained to mama who said she’d concoct some herbs for her before she returned from work at the Airport. Mama and her bitter tasting herbs she thought. She made a mental note to buy Flagyl en-route.

She never made it to the Airport.

She was collecting the purge-stopping drug from her local chemist when her eye caught the TV news headline, ‘Liberian man in Lagos being tested for Ebola’.

“Please turn the volume up”, she told the Chemist. He did. The clip went on to chronologize the Liberian’s arrival at the Lagos Airport, his collapse and subsequent transfer to a hospital at Ikoyi area. It added that from all the symptoms, he was infected with the deadly virus, and they were only waiting for official confirmation from the lab that it was indeed Ebola. Even before Patrick Sawyer’s picture was displayed on the screen, she knew it was him. She didn’t hear the chemist shouting “Iya Jumoke, your change, your change…” when she rushed out of the drug store. She whipped out her phone and dialed her husband.

“Hello … daddy, there is a problem…” she started when he answered at the 3rd ring.

In the 11 years they’d been married, Mr Paul Shaibu, a professional caterer and cook at Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, had never heard those words from his wife. “Kilode…?” he asked, walking out of the kitchen.

“Remember that incidence at the Airport I told you about? The Liberian I gave first aid?”

He did. “Yes. What’s wrong?”

“I made a mistake. It happened so fast I didn’t have time to look for a medical kit and collect a protective barrier before I gave him mouth to mouth resuscitation. It is recommended that we do that to prevent cross infection, but he had a pulse, yet he was barely breathing. If I had delayed he might have died, and…”

“Mummy, calm down. Kilode…?” he cut her short.

“I just saw the man on TV. They said he has Ebola virus.” Silence at the other end. “Hello, daddy…”

“I’ll go and pick Jummie and David from school,” he began, in the calmest possible voice. “Just go to Ebony and wait. I’ll tell Dr Ugonna we’re coming. I’ll be there in 30mins.”

Paul was a numb robot when he took off his apron and walked out of the Hotel. He now understood why Jemila had been purging earlier that morning. Purge … Diarrhea …one of the symptoms of the Ebola virus. If she had it, then he had it. They’d made love the previous night. And the night before that. If they had it, then, unless a miracle happened, their 3 children, including five month old Paul Jr had it too. And his mother who had been with them for the past two months…

Paul did not hear the people yelling at him to get off the road. He did not see the Cement Truck nor hear the blaring horns either. He did not feel the impact. He died before he hit the ground. Later, when his body was deposited at the mortuary, the morgue attendant noticed some strange rashes around what was left of Paul’s lower back. He ignored it. Him don die be say him don die

After 40 minutes at Ebony Hospital, Jemila tried Paul’s number. It didn’t connect. She called mama to know if he had come home. She said he hadn’t. She called the school, they confirmed he hadn’t come to pick the kids yet. Something had happened. She felt it. She was standing up to leave when her phone rang. The caller identified himself as a Policeman and asked her to come to the Lagos Island Mortuary to identify the body of one Mr Paul Shaibu.

Her screams were heard from miles away …



One of Bishop Samuel Ndah’s most notable attribute was his strong baritone voice. On Thursday, when he woke up, he could barely speak. He had only experienced sore-throat once in his life and it surely didn’t hurt this bad. Nor did it come with weakness of the muscle and troubled breathing. He asked his wife to call his pastors. The devil was at work. That evil being didn’t want him to minister at tonight’s special service. But he was going to, whether Satan liked it or not.

The pastors came, held his hands and prayed. His condition deteriorated.

He was taken to a private hospital some hours later. The doctors are yet to realize he might have the Ebola virus. They’re still giving him treatment for Influenza.


Patrick Sawyer died and it was later confirmed by the Nigerian Government and WHO that he was indeed carrying the Ebola Virus. 30 people may have been in contact with Patrick Sawyer from the Airplane to the Hospital in Obalende. It could have been more, it could have been less. The Lagos state government is still trying to track them down.


Munachi infected Nduka and a host of others. Nduka mourned for a while, but man must wack. He still drives his cab around Lagos; he has a wife and baby back home in Anambra, and a girlfriend in Okota to take care of. He doesn’t understand why his joints and muscles have been aching him since…

Aisha, Munachi’s colleague, thinks she’s constantly weak because she is pregnant. She also thinks the rashes on her body are because she changed cosmetics. She and her banker husband have no idea…

Jemila’s children were infected. The older ones shared meals, toys and other facilities with their friends in school…the friends have friends, who have families ….

Bishop Samuel Ndah is un-quarantined and has been receiving hundreds of visitors daily; faithful members of his church who greet him with a kiss on his Episcopal ring…

The end


This story is fiction. Patrick Sawyer is indeed the first known victim of the Ebola virus in Nigeria, but other characters exist only in my imagination. Real locations have been used to make the story as realistic as possible.

One nagging question remains though: are these scenarios not possible?

Could you know someone who knows someone who currently has the virus?

I’d have abandoned my awesome new job and carried my polythene bag back to Portharcourt, but if it is in Lagos, is it not only a matter of time before it gets to other parts of Nigeria?

This is not meant to start a panic though. It is to create awareness that this virus is real and amongst us.

I appeal to the Nigerian government to take this menace seriously. As I write this, there are no equipments to diagnose the virus. There are no centers to quarantine and care for victims. There are no specialists to supervise the control of a possible epidemic. And striking doctors’ demands have still not been met.

I appeal to the Nigerian Medical Association to call off their strike. Two wrongs have never made a right. And right now, if an epidemic breaks out, you’re the only hope we have. Please put your heads together, and agree on something positive for the good of your brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and children that make up this entity called Nigeria. Once Ebola is taken care of, I’m sure the whole Nigeria would gladly go to strike with you guys.

To everyone reading this, Ebola is real. The symptoms are Fever, sore throat, headache, weakness, joint and muscle pain, chest pain, Diarrhea, rashes, troubled breathing and bleeding from the skin. There is no known cure yet. To reduce risk of infection, wash your hands as often as possible with sanitizer or soap. Always wash your fruits and vegetables before cooking. And finally, avoid contact with people with suspicious signs or those from places where there has been an outbreak.


Chidi @Chydee Ace Okereke.


Lagos … and my Polythene Bag

No, I’m not a plantain boy. But I admire Timaya’s music. And I most definitely love plantain – bole’d, dodo’ed, porridge’d, or chipped.

I came into Lagos 4 years ago, with nothing but a polythene bag, an Engineering degree, and a dream. Ok, it wasn’t a polythene bag, but, you’ll agree it sounds more dramatic.

Anyways, the point is, 4 years ago, when those 3 wise men at Berger welcomed me to Eko, I had nothing. No concrete plan, no white, blue, or red collar job waiting for me. It was just my dream, my certificate, and I. The dream: Run this town in 5 years.

How? Nna, why are you asking a question I can’t answer?

When I disembarked from the Ekene-Dili-Chukwu bus at Oshodi, two men lunged at me and grabbed my bag.

“Na me get am!” the first one squeaked.

“Na me go carry am!” the other one growled in a guttural voice.

It happened so fast, I was stunned for a few seconds. When I came round, I lunged at both of them, eyes closed. Pushing, kicking, punching, screaming, “Gimme my bag!!!”

After a few moments, I realized my bag was in my hand and I was kicking at dry air. I slowly opened my eyes and saw the two men, looking at me in awe. A small crowd had gathered too, stunned…until someone burst into laughter. Everyone joined except the two men, who turned out to be Taxi drivers who only wanted to give me a ride.

“Oga na wa o, e be like you be JJC…” guttural voice growled as he went to look for more reasonable passengers. Squeaky voice just shook his head, looked at his shirt, discovered two missing buttons he must have lost during our skirmish, eyed me again, hissed and walked away.

It was over almost as soon as it started. Even the crowd had dispersed. I whipped out my Motorola Razor and called Femi, my secondary school mate, who I was going to be squatting with until I ‘hammered’. He came and took me to his one room self-contained apartment.

One room…

I actually thought Femi lived in a flat. He said he worked in a bank, and generally gave the impression he was well off. Well, (as I found out after a few days) by Lagos standards, he was comfortable. His house was self-contained, meaning he didn’t have to share a toilet, bathroom and kitchen with anybody. His office was also just a N30 bus distance from his house; so, long hours in traffic was almost never a problem. Yes, he was comfortable.

Jobs are scarce. Very scarce. I realized this after carrying my CV in a brown envelope, round Lagos. I am not exaggerating when I say I went round Lagos. I did. Ask my ash colored leather shoe (it was black when I bought it). It was the same story everywhere I went: “There’s no vacancy”; or “we need someone with at least 3 years experience”. As in, I needed experience to get a job and I needed a job to get experience.

These Employers aint loyal.

Due to my joblessness-induced frustration, I started spending plenty more time on the internet: Facebook, Twitter, Nairaland etc. Naturally blessed with wittiness, creative thinking and an incredible imagination, it wasn’t hard to get some admirable following; and I kept my audience hooked. I also took writing more seriously: Fiction, humorous articles, socio-political commentaries, etc.

That was how it happened.

One night, 4 months after NYSC, some guy with 146 followers asked me for a follow-back on Twitter. On the average I get like 20 ‘kindly follow back’ requests every day, requests I generally ignore. But on that fateful day, I don’t know how it happened, I just followed him back.

I followed greatness without realizing it. That was the follow-back that changed my life. The greatest follow-back of all time.

See, some of you with plenty followers that keep ignoring follow-back requests, pray to God you don’t ignore the link to your future ‘breakthrough’ o. Ehen.

After I followed, the man sent me a direct message saying he liked my tweets and my blog articles. I thanked him and went to bed. Next morning I woke up and saw another DM. He wanted to discuss something and needed my phone number. I gave it to him. I mean, what could happen?

What could happen? A lot my people. A whole lot.

He called that morning and introduced himself – Anthony Okpa. The name didn’t ring a bell. He said he worked with a bank and he could use my writing skills for a project he was working on. He asked if I could meet him for lunch; he’d send someone to come pick me.

Free lunch. Free ride. Possible job. Nna, who was I to say no?

I still didn’t know if it was some scam so I didn’t give him my address. I just told him I’d wait at Oshodi busstop. He told me his assistant would be there by 12noon. I quickly brought out the suit I’d not worn in months, selected my best shirt, borrowed charcoal iron from a neighbor, pressed them all, polished my shoe, went for a shave and haircut, and was ready by 11am.

When I arrived the Bank’s headquarters at Lagos Island, his assistant took me straight up to Anthony’s office which was at the top of the high-rise building. My eye almost popped out of my head when I saw the inscription on his office door.

‘Anthony Okpa – Deputy Managing Director.’

Of a bank.

Not a branch, but the bank. The whole bank.

Bruh, I can’t forget how my legs almost buckled as I entered his office. He stood up, came round the table and shook my shivering hands. He noticed how nervous I was and asked me to sit and relax.

I sat. I relaxed. I shivered harder.

We did some small talk, got to know ourselves better, then went straight to business. He wanted to run for Governor of his state and was currently recruiting young people into his campaign team. He wanted me to be his campaign social media/strategy manager. The election was in two years and he wanted to establish a strong social media presence ASAP. I’d create engaging content for and manage all his online accounts, and so on and so forth.

I didn’t know when a tear dropped from my left eye. Till today, I still don’t know if he’d noticed it. He didn’t stop talking as I quickly wiped it off. He asked if I was interested. I nodded vigorously; afraid I’d squeak and burst into tears if I tried speaking. He was visibly delighted. He added that when the campaign team was complete we’d all meet, get to know each other, brainstorm, and map out strategies; but meanwhile I could start working. I’d get a laptop, a smartphone, a modem, and other equipment I’d need to commence the job.

He brought out his cheque book, scribbled something, asked my official name, scribbled some more, tore out the leaf and gave it to me. I couldn’t hold back the tears when I saw the figure on it. This time he noticed and offered his handkerchief. I dried the tears and apologized for being such a sisi. He waved it off and asked if the money could cover the next 3 months, salary and all. I nodded till my head almost fell off my neck. The money was more than enough. After buying all the equipments I needed, I was still going to be a millionaire.

Yes. Millionaire.

I’d slept on the floor the previous night because Femi’s girlfriend had slept over. I’d woken up broke that morning, hoping the good Lord would provide for me the same way he provided for the sparrow.

Few hours later I was a millionaire.
And I had a job. One I’d enjoy doing. One that would make me more millions.

After we had lunch at an exclusive restaurant in Victoria Island, his driver dropped me off at home. First thing I did was get on my knees and pray. I called my folks and told them I’d finally gotten a good job. I’m sure their celebratory shouts reverberated through the whole neighborhood. Then I called Femi. My guy didn’t know when he squealed for joy. He closed earlier than usual, came home with plenty suya and wine and we celebrated.

After buying all the necessaries, I offered Femi a quarter of the balance – which was more than his salary for 3 months. He refused to collect it at first but I insisted. He had sheltered and fed me for 4 months without complaints so he had to enjoy my breakthrough with me. It was only right.

The social media strategizing began. I did plenty research on branding – majoring on politics, took a few courses, created content and publishing pattern for all his social accounts, and generally put him in the internet limelight.

The campaign office was opened for business a few months after we met and the team started work. My workaholic nature saw me doing more than the social media strategist job I was hired for. I joined the bigger media team, generated ideas and created so much content, the overall campaign manager who was also the media team lead handed the unit over to me and focused more on grassroots mobilization.

The elections finally arrived. The primaries was a hard fought battle but we clinched the ticket. And when Election Day finally came, we won. Resoundingly!!

Governor Anthony Okpa made me his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy immediately after he was sworn in. It was the first time a non-indigene would hold a political position in that state.

Bruh, I was balling.

It was at one of the state’s social events that I met Eva Alordiah. I’d listened to her songs and I had this slight crush on her. But seeing her perform in person was different. I knew I wanted her immediately. She was ravishingly beautiful. And she could rap.

Holy Lord!

After her performance I asked that she take a picture with Gov Anthony and I. Then I practically begged her to have dinner with me sometime. She agreed, and, a few weeks and many conversations later, we did.

We connected, we bonded on a covalent level. I don’t know if she felt it too, but I was already in love with her. It was a beautiful evening and we agreed to do it again.

On the drive back home, we sat in the back. She said she was cold so I put my arm around her and drew her closer. She put her head on my shoulder and I stroked her hair. After a while she looked up, into my eyes. I could see the desire in her eyes as light from oncoming traffic illuminated them. I leaned in and kis….

“Oga we don reach…” he said.

How dare my driver interrupt me now of all times? How dare he?

“Oga you no wan come down again?” he said again, tapping me. I opened my eyes, furious.

“What is wro…” I was growling, when I noticed my environs. I wasn’t in the Porsche Cayenne. I was in a bus. Eva wasn’t there; in her place was the bus driver. The disorientation was total. Then I came round. I looked at the driver again. “Where are we?” I asked.

“Maza Maza,” he replied. “Which kain sleep you dey sleep sef? Tse-tse fly bite you? Everybody don go down, na only you dey motor….”

I remembered the last time I was awake… we had just entered the Benin – Ore road. It was all a dream. And I had passed my busstop.

I wanted to cry. But instead, I carried my ‘polythene bag’, came down and started looking for a bus that would take me back to Oshodi.

It was all a dream. I still had my ‘polythene bag’, but this time I also had a laptop, an internet connection, and a big, beautiful dream:

“I will run this town in 5 years, so help me God!”

Written by — @Chydee