Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has asked Nigerians not to play politics with the issue of Covid-19 vaccination as only a collective effort devoid of politics and conspiracy theories could guarantee a successful war against the virus.
A statement signed by the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi said the Speaker gave the admonition in Abuja on Friday at the National Flag-off of Covid-19 Vaccination in Nigeria.
Lasisi quote the Speaker as saying that Nigerians must rally round the Federal Government in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, describing it as “an unseen enemy” causing havoc around the world.
Gbajabiamila also appealed to the media to pass accurate information about the virus and the vaccines to the public, describing the vaccination as an “epical” moment in the history of the country, as Nigeria finally began the journey of fighting a pandemic that ravaged it and changed lifestyles in the last one year.
The first batch of about 4 million Oxford/AstraZeneca jab Covid-19 vaccines were received by the federal government on March 2 while the national vaccination against the virus began on Friday.
The Speaker said: “This is the time for us to rally behind the government. Like the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has said, the virus knows no creed, knows no religion, knows no ethnicity, knows no sex and knows no age.
“So, it is important for all of us to come together as a country to fight the pandemic. As I have often said, we are actually in a war, but in a war with an unseen enemy. Therefore, when a country goes to war, you go as one. I want to implore the journalists and implore all Nigerians, therefore, not to give in to conspiracy theories because we will hear them.”
The Speaker assured that with the support of the National Assembly, the government would deliver more vaccine doses to the country soon to expand the vaccination beyond the first 4 million doses.
He advised against playing politics with the vaccination and specifically enlisted the support of the media to ensure that the right decisions were taken always.
He said “We must not play politics with vaccines; we must not play politics with the health of our neighbour; we must be on the same page whilst we also correct and do what you need to do in terms of your role in checking the government and holding their feet to the fire.”
The Speaker commended the efforts of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 led by the SGF, Boss Mustapha, for the doggedness with which the members worked in the last one year to contain the virus from spiraling out of control in Nigeria.
He commended front line health workers and other frontline personnel for risking their lives so that the lives of other Nigerians could be saved from the virus.
In keeping with the government’s promise to administer the vaccines to health workers first, Dr. Cyprian Ngom, a physician managing one of the treatment centres in the Federal Capital Territory, became the first Nigerian to take the Covid-19 vaccine on Friday.