Monday, September 01, 2014

Hajj 2014: Ebira pilgrims get 'risky' vaccination

By Ismail M. Kabir

While the public is being sensitized about the danger of the Ebola Virus Disease, our community is not doing much to safeguard the lives of its people.

After the subhi (dawn) prayer this morning in Enyinomo area of Kabba junction in Adavi LGA, muslim faithfuls in the area were listening to the usual morning admonition when a nurse gave a chilling account of her experience yesterday in Okene.

While narrating her story, Mrs. Ramat Zubair, a professional nurse and one of the pilgrims said that the entire candidates for this year's Hajj converged at Ebira central mosque yesterday for the usual yellow fever vaccine.

She said after waiting several hours for her vaccination, she stepped out briefly for a light refreshment. Upon her return, Ramat said most of the candidates on queue have been vaccinated.

As it got to her turn, she observed that the woman administering the vaccine was wearing same hand glove.

As a professional Nurse, Mrs. Ramat said she couldn't condone the inherent danger.

She challenged the woman who instantly retorted that she knew her job well.

Not minding her rudeness, Nurse Ramat said she probed further and to her greatest dismay, the woman had no cotton wool! She was covering every injection spot with her bare hand as the single pair of gloves she was wearing was already torn.

Mrs. Ramat said a cold shiver ran down her spine when she noticed that the woman's hands were blood stained!

"I couldn't believe my eyes. I asked her how on earth she could be so careless at a time the whole nation is apprehensive of the Ebola disease.

"To my greatest shock, she simply told me that she was equally putting herself at risk, showing me her hands stained with blood of the pilgrims she has since vaccinated.

"I told her she can never vaccinate me with such hand. It was at this point that she reluctantly stepped up to change the torn hand gloves", said Mrs. Ramat who had to take over from the woman to vaccinate the remaining pilgrims.

She lamented the careless attitude on the part of our community members of the pilgrims board.

"How can they endanger the lives of over 200 Ebira people by engaging the service of such careless quack? I had a sleepless night and will not rest till I report this to the appropriate quarters", she submitted.

Ramat noted that she had to contain her anger to avoid raising alarm as the ignorant pilgrims who were oblivious of the danger the woman's action posed to their health already contributed the sum of N200 each to compensate her 'hard work'.

She added that she was pissed by the whole exercise and wondered why professionals from our community were not dispatched to conduct the vaccination saying that by such attitude, the chance of transmitting infectious diseases among the pilgrims was very high.

She therefore appealed that the concerned authorities be alerted to avoid similar behaviour in subsequent exercise.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ebira woven clothes, a living heritage

By Ismail M. Kabir

An Ebira Woman weaving cloth on the loom
In recent time, the loom, popularly known as Oguntoro in Ebira language, has disappeared from most homes in Ebira communities. But does it mean an end to the age-long clothe weaving heritage in Ebira land?

The Okene main market (ohu bariki) retains an paralleled record of patronage when it comes to local trade of the Ita-inochi otherwise known as woven cloth. Historically, people traveled from across the country buy the clothes from our local weavers. This gave rise to the yoruba acronym for the clothe "Aso-Oke", meaning cloth from the upper (Northern) Nigeria.

The Oguntoro (loom) was a common feature in most Ebira homes when the trade thrived locally and internationally. Today, modernization has taken over the local weaving method as simple mechanized approach now make it easier for women to weave faster and produce more for their clients.
Innovation has taken centre stage. New skills are being adopted to make the clothes into shoes, bags, hand fans and more accessories in compleiance with modern fashion.

While the innovation opens more money making opportunity in the weaving business, our local weavers are loosing out of the trend. At the Okene main market, one only finds more of the weaving materials than than the finished products.

The drop in local production not withstanding, some smarter women have cashed in on the evolving market to rake more profit than their predecessors. Leading among the modern weavers are the women from Upogoro who have not only improved in the designs but the texture of the cloth from heavy woolen feel to a softer and lighter materials.

 - From Upogoro weavers in Okene-

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