…We’ve enough vaccines to cover 70% population – SGF
…Lack of patriotism worst than COVID-19 – Prof. Tomori
By Emmanuel Elebeke
The President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan on Monday called on the Ministry of health and affiliate agencies to ensure prudent application of COVID-19 funding from within and outside the country.
Sen. Lawan made the call at the Nigeria COVID-19 Summit 2021 held in Abuja.
He insisted that the ministry of health and all agencies concerned must be made to be transparent and accountable to enable the country achieve the set goals of ensuring that Nigeria and indeed all countries in sub-Sahara Africa are free from the scourge of the pandemic
He also called for capacity building of relevant stakeholders in states and institutions in the country for effective mitigation against re-emerging infectious diseases, adding that the Senate would extend its oversight function to other ministries and agencies of government to ensure full compliance of judicious application of funds meant for projects in line with President Mohammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption stance.
‘‘We insist on prudence in the application of resources and value for money. Accountability and transparency what we insist on so that we can overcome the challenge posed by the pandemic. All those responsible for the COVID-19 funds must ensure they are very strict on application of the funds and scrutinize all funds for the pandemic to minimize.’’
‘‘This 9th Assembly has played critical role to mitigate the pandemic. That is why we reviewed the 2020 MTEF in order to cushion the effect of COVID-19, even as members distributed COVID -19 materials to people in their constituencies.
‘‘For us, all fund disbursed must be monitored to ensure strict compliance because the new emergency of new variant is an indication that the pandemic is yet to be over.
‘‘That is why we have made provision in the 2022 budget to ensure all citizens are protected.
‘‘With only 3% vaccination, we still have a long way to go in achieving the targeted 70%.
I will ensure that the NASS will play its role in ensuring timely implementation of outcomes o this summit and whatever will be needed to fight the pandemic will be provided. The national Assembly will play its role in ensuring timely implementation of the
On the inclusion of Nigeria on the red list, Lawal said the country has the prerogative to take certain decisions it considered necessary, but promised that Nigeria would respond, after reviewing the decision.
‘‘All countries have processes that they have put in place to mitigate the effect of the virus, the British government has decided to add Nigeria to their list, we by this action are reviewing that and Nigeria will respond appropriately.
‘‘We will meet and look at all the issues raised by the British government and a response will come out of that. The infection is more in the urban areas and , we are in a race with a smart virus and that virus is going ahead of us.
‘‘We need to get our people vaccinated, the vaccine uptake now is very low and it is not as a result of shortage of vaccines, it is vaccine hesitancy, right now we have over 32 million doses. We are expecting about 41 million doses and by the end of December, we will have about 71 million doses of vaccines, and only 6 million persons have been vaccinated and only over 3 million have received the second dose and that is not enough for us to achieve herd immunity.’’
In his address, the Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha said the fight against COVID-19 pandemic requires global collaboration, equity, access to essential items, national focus, diligence, planning, perseverance, resilience, compliance, reliance on data and science, research, good public policy and a sense of history, to accomplish.
Mustapha, who decried the low vaccination rate in the country, boasted that the Federal Government has enough COVID-19 vaccines to cover over 70 percent of its population by December 2022, with additional vaccines expected in the country before the end of this month.
Recall that the Federal Government had recently set 2022 as the target year to end the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, to effectively capture the core elements of its national response, the national summit would help to end COVID-19 in 2022 and as well strengthen Global Health Security.
“Our target is to encourage all eligible persons to get vaccinated and keep observing the washing of hands, wearing of face masks, keep physical distance and avoid crowded areas. Nigeria has invested in enough vaccines that can cover over 70% of our population before the end of 2022. These vaccines are safe and efficacious, hence it is better and safer to be vaccinated against this virus, now”, he stated.
‘‘The multi-sectoral approach to the National response has proven to be one of the most effective strategies ever deployed for governance operations in Nigeria. It facilitated expansive and in-depth consideration of issues as well as speedy decision making. ‘’
In his keynote presentation titled: Global Health Security Threat: Repositioning To end the Pandemic and Build Back Better, the former Vice Chancellor of University of Redeemers University, Prof. Oyewale Tomori said our underdevelopment and backwardness rest on the real enemies of our nation, which are: lack of patriotism, the main destroyer of our nation; self-interest, the burial ground of our national interest; corruption, the executor of our orderly development and shamelessness, the destruction of our national pride.
For him, the first epidemic we must address is the one affecting our culture and true Nigerianess, insisting that we must have a nation where national interest buries self-interest.
‘‘We must apply BUILD BACK BETTER, first on our old our cherished culture. If we must reposition our country to end current and future disease pandemics, we must start with building back better, those aspects of our culture that revered honour, that treasured integrity, that prized probity, that appreciated accountability, that valued transparency, that embraced honesty, that practised fairness, that ensured equity, that dispensed justice fairly, and which cherished patriotism.
The two day National COVID-19 Summit aims at bringing all stakeholders together to discuss the Theme: “Pushing Through the Last Mile to End the Pandemic and Build Back Better”.