By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

THIS week, scores of Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, staff members stormed several COVID-19 vaccination centres across Abuja to be innoculated against the deadly virus.

Arewa Voice gathered that some of the staff who reported for work on Monday, were left stranded as they could not gain entry into their offices. It was learnt that the Permanent Secretary of the FCT Ministry, Adesola Olusade, had issued a circular the previous week, stating that beginning from January 17, 2022 all staff of the FCTA must either tender a COVID-19 vaccination card or a negative test  report, causing a rush for the jab.

Recall that the Head of Service of the Federal, Mrs. Folashade Yemi-Esan, had earlier issued a similar directive to all Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies. Consequently, the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah, said there would be no going back on the implementation of the policy. “Circulars were issued in line with the directive issued towards the end of last year by the HoSF that staff who are not vaccinated or those who don’t wish to be vaccinated must bring a negative test result. That is what we are enforcing after intense advocacy across the media,” he said.

Attah also advised residents to do the right thing at the right time, saying “We shouldn’t wait till the last minute. No one enjoys putting people under pressure, but when you fail to do the right thing, we have no choice, as a government to do what is required of us.”

Similarly, the Acting Director, Reform Coordination and Service Delivery Department of the FCTA, Dr. Jummai Ahmadu, urged the public to shun what she described as conspiracy theories around the COVID-19 vaccines. She said, “I don’t know why people should wait for the government to force them to look after their health. Vaccination is very important no matter the conspiracy theories that are being sold in the public domain.”

Meanwhile, some workers who were locked out of their offices, who spoke to Arewa Voice at a vaccination centre near the FCTA Secretariat in Garki Area 11, said that they no longer have any better option than to go for the COVID-19 vaccine jabs. According to Ikem Ugwu, a civil servant, “We know that there are many misconceptions going round, but finally we have been mandated to take the jab as government workers. So, I have no choice.” Likewise, another FCTA staff, Bunmi Olowo, said: “I was afraid to take the vaccine, but now that the government has finally announced that if you did not take it, you won’t come to work. So, I have to accept jab.”

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