By Richard Elesho/ Lokoja
Kogi government has inaugurated a research team saddled with the task of probing why COVID-19 ‘spared’ the state.
The Committee was inaugurated on Tuesday in Lokoja by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Haruna following the flag off ceremony for the administration of AstraZeneca Vaccine in the state.
Membership of the committee is made up of some scientists and notable medical personnel.
Nevertheless, Haruna charged the committee to carry out research on some few areas of attention regarding the COVID-19; investigate any adverse effect and reasons with scientific explanations behind the relative sparing of Kogi State by the virus.
The inauguration of the committee seem to be in furtherance of the claim by the state governor, Yahaya Bello that the State did not record any case of COVID-19 even at the height of the spread of the pandemic in Nigeria.
He claimed that the few cases associated with the state on the data of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control were imported from other parts of the country.
In addition, Bello had also indicated that he will not allow COVID-19 Vaccine to be administered in the state, but he later backed down.
The NCDC and other analysts have however consistently faulted the position of Bello.
According to them, recorded cases of COVID-19 were very low in Kogi because of the refusal of the state government to cooperate all relevant agencies for testing for the virus.
More so, some prominent indigenes of the state, including the Chief Judge and a lawmaker lost their lives to the virus.
The News reports that the state took delivery of 16,900 doses of AstraZenneca Vaccine on Monday night. The vaccination exercise commenced on Tuesday.
Haruna coordinated the exercise in collaboration with the Kogi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (KSPHCDA).
The flag off was followed by the administration of the vaccines on Dr. Abubakar Yakubu, KSPHCDA Executive Director, who volunteered himself as first person to take the vaccine, followed by the CMD Kogi Hospital Management Board, Dr Usman Zakari and some medical officers.
The Kogi State Chairman of Christians Association of Chairman of Christians Association of Nigeria, CAN, Bishop John Ibenu; Kogi JNI Chairman, Amb. Usman Bello; Kogi NMA Chairman, Dr Omakoji Oyiguh; and some journalists, also received doses of the vaccines.
In his remarks, the Commissioner called on the people of the state to volunteer themselves to take the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying nobody would be deprived or forced to receive it.
”I want to clarify that nobody is exempted or will be deprived from this exercise, also nobody will be subjected to forced vaccination exercise in Kogi State”, Audu said.
He said that the way Governor had handle the COVID-19 issue in Kogi, ”is about a leader who does not want to deprive his people of an intervention that may be potentially beneficial to the people.
”At the same time, the governor wanted to avoid exposing his people to a new intervention that may be potentially harmful to the people; that is the position His Excellency has acted”.
In his remarks, the State Chairman of Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr John Ibenu, commended Kogi Government for its pragmatic approach in managing the COVID-19 pandemic effectively from the onset.
He assured Kogi residents that CAN would be the number one body to stand against anything that could harm anyone.
He stressed that it was against international standard and health practice to introduce anything that would be harmful to humanity, saying, “CAN will never be part of anything that will be harmful to humanity.
On his part, the Kogi Chairman of Jamaatu Nasiru Islam (JNI), Amb. Usman Bello, appealed to Kogi people not to allow themselves to be deceived against the genuineness of the vaccine.