Urges African leaders to speak with one voice
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Africa Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council, AU-ECOSOCC, on Monday, condemned French scientists over comment on first testing Coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccine on Africans.
The condemnation was contained in a statement signed by the Nigeria Representative, AU-ECOSOCC, Oba Olasunkanmi John, while expressing dismay over utterances by the scientists with no regard for Vienna Convention, which could cause disaffection in Africa and by Africans.
The statement reads in part, “The Africa Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council, (AU-ECOSOCC) Nigeria home office has noted with dismay, the plan/suggestion by some Scientists from Europe, especially France that, “Africans should be used as lab rats for vaccines being tested”.
“In as much as we all know that this virus is a global challenge being faced by almost all the countries of the world, it should not be the reason(s) for Scientists who should be guided by the Vienna convention to utter words capable of causing more harm to Africans at this period where everybody should show love and uphold that fulcrum that binds us together as humans”.
“In view of aforementioned, the African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council condemn in totality statement credited to French Scientists that, vaccines being produced for COVID-19 be first tested on Africans simply because Africans recorded the lowest death from COVID-19.
“While the most recent survey shows that 65,605 people have died globally, with the United States alone recording 8,454 dead; China 3,329; France 7,560; Spain 12,418; Italy 15,362 deaths; Germany 1,444; UK 4,313; and Iran 3,603 compared to the entire Africa that has so far recorded 280 deaths. It is not out of place to point out the least mortality rate among the G20 member countries which is much higher than the entire Africa countries put together.
“Though, it is a known fact that Africa has served in the past as laboratories for European and America experiments. This is yet another proof of Neo-colonization. It is, in practice, what Achille Mbembe denounces as “necropolitics”, a situation where the State decides who should die.
“But to think that such level of racism can still be displayed in the 21st century and at a time like this when the whole world is grieving shows the level of contempt with which Africans are held and how derogatorily Africans in Diaspora are being treated.
“I want to state without mincing words, that if there is a need for any tests, it should be carried out in countries with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection. Africa people will not accept to be treated as guinea pigs!”
Meanwhile, commended effort by African leaders to combat the virus with various measure and acknowledged that Africans have some of the best brains in the health sector, hence, it is high time Africa leaders look within to solve their health problems and see how to develop the health sector from this experience.
“Africans have some of the best Tradomedicine practitioners in the world; they should be encouraged as part of efforts to achieve the Agenda 2063 of the Africa Union.
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“Africa leaders must understand that this war is not only against coronavirus, but also an economic war that must be fought collectively.”
The Council also called on African leaders to speak one voice in this trying moment of invading COVID-19 in the continent in order to effectively and collectively mobilize resources through relevant institutions.
“It is high time Africans stand together, speak with one voice and work through African institutions to mobilise resources and harmonize support from international partners. There is need through coordinated action to materialize all commitments flexibly so that the health and economic impact of COVID-19 can be successfully mitigated on the masses”, the statement added.
The Council also commiserated with countries affected adversely by the raging and rampaging pandemic imbroglio.