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Christian, Muslim clerics endorse Covid-19 vaccine, laud NPHCDA’s efforts

Some renowned Christian and Muslim clerics in the country have approved the Oxford/Astrazeneca coronavirus vaccine for all Nigerians irrespective of faith.  

Adopting the slogan ‘Covid-19 Vaccine is Safe for Health and Life’, the inter-faith group, under the auspices of National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) declared the vaccines safe and effective for Nigerians. 

The group made these known on Tuesday in a communique issued at the end of its executive session on the public falsehoods and myths against the administration of the vaccines. 

In the communique co-signed by its President, Bishop Sunday Garuba and Assistant Secretary, Rev. Andelm Francis, the clerics also hailed the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for the seamless arrival and roll out of the vaccines.

According to the NIFROP, NPHCDA’s leadership has shown competence and expertise so far.  

The group, therefore, urged all Nigerians to ignore conspiracy theories and support the health agency in ridding the nation of the deadly contagion. 

Declaring the vaccines “good for all citizens irrespective of religious creeds or ethnicity identity”, the NIFROP added that it should be embraced by all to enhance greater public health. 

The clerics, however, implored all Nigerians to be vigilant and report any act of impropriety or sharp practices by anybody to the nearest authority for appropriate actions.  

Read full communique below:

Preamble:   

After the FGN took delivery of the first consignment of the COVAX Covid-19 vaccines and the commencement of the immunization process, NIFROP met in an executive session in Abuja, deliberated and examined the public falsehoods and myths contrived against the expected administration of the vaccines on Nigerians.  Below are the observations, resolutions and recommendations by NIFROP;  

OBSERVATIONS:

The National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) profoundly thanked and appreciated the Federal Government, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari; and the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 for the collective and tireless efforts so far to contain Covid-19 in Nigeria. These measures have assisted enormously in curtailing the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, with comparatively lesser infection and casualties in Nigeria. 

NIFROP welcomed the arrival of the 3.94 million dosages of Covid-19 vaccine into the country, which we monitored from the point of flight-landing at the airport in Abuja; the discharge of the vaccines and its storage by prescribed medical standards.  This is commendable. 

We also observed the meticulous and highly professional job/work competence as exhibited by the team of experts at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). NIFROP observed with unquestionable clarity, the thorough job done by NPHCDA in the choice of the vaccines and the transparency in handling or management of the vaccination exercise across the country so far, including the logistics. It is also very commendable. 

NIFROP glowingly commended the President and the Vice President for leading by example, in kick-starting the inoculation exercise publicly. This will certainly encourage other Nigerians who are sceptical about the vaccine based on the false conjectures and conspiracy theories are woven around it by detractors to also get immunized. 

Finally, we observed the fake campaigns on alleged inflated logistics and condemned them.  We totally disowned the rumours that 10 billion naira have been earmarked to be spent on transportation of vaccines to different parts of the country. We, therefore, pleaded with Nigerians to give the Presidential Task Force in alliance with NPHCDA the benefit of hindsight to carry out its mandate without any campaign of falsehood or distractions of any sort. 

RESOLUTIONS: 

Therefore, NIFROP unanimously adopted the slogan of “Covid-19 Vaccine is Safe for Health and Life.” It is our public appeal, awareness message and campaigns throughout the country as a stamp of our endorsement and trust in the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines. 

By the declaration, NIFROP hereby, unequivocally states that the Covid-19 vaccines are good for all citizens irrespective of religious creeds or ethnic identity and should be embraced by all to enhance greater public health.  

Consequently, NIFROP resolved that all its affiliates, partners and their sister-partners, as well as friends, will be activated to support the campaign by NPHCDA in helping to make sure the vaccine is taken by a majority of vulnerable citizens. 

We also recommended that all traditional and community leaders who are members of this inter-religious body also domesticate our message and campaign slogan of “Covid -19 Vaccine is Safe for Health and Life” in their respective domains and persuade subjects to key into it through adequate sensitization.  

The Headteachers and teachers of all schools owned by the various religious communities under our large umbrella also transform into automatic agents and carriers of the NIFROP-supported message of Covid-19, wherever they are domiciled in Nigeria. They should strategize on how to gently persuade their pupils and students into actively participating in the inoculation exercise.     

CONCLUSION

With the distribution and formal commencement of the Covid-19 vaccine inoculation exercise, we implore all Nigerians to be vigilant and report any act of impropriety or sharp practices by anybody to the nearest authority for appropriate actions. 

NIFROP is reminding every Nigerian that the Covid-19 vaccine immunization is free-of-charge to all Nigerians. Everyone should therefore resist the temptation of paying a kobo to be vaccinated. #TogetherLetsChaseCovid-19OutOfNigeria! 

Thank You. 

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