The Kogi State government on Tuesday said it was mischievous for some Nigerians to claim that Governor Yahaya Bello deliberately rejected the state’s allocation of COVID-19 vaccines, thereby preventing willing residents who desire to be vaccinated from doing so.
Speaking with Daily Independent on Tuesday, Kingsley Fanwo, the state’s Commissioner for Information, said the state was yet to receive its allocation because the facilities where the vaccines would be kept were destroyed by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest.
He, however, said the facilities had been rehabilitated and that the government had written to the health authorities to send the vaccines to the state.
He said: “There was no time that the governor said he would not accept the COVID-19 vaccine. He told the entire world on television and in conferences that he was ready to accept the COVID-19 vaccines.
“The problem we have in Kogi State, even the Federal Ministry of Health knows that Kogi State’s cold room and walk-in facility is one of the best in the country.
“But during the #EndSARS protest, those facilities were vandalised by hoodlums who stormed the cold room and walk-in facilities of the state government.
“We told the health authorities in the country that we are repairing the health facilities at the time the vaccines came into the country.
“They acknowledged that, and they told the whole world during a press conference that Kogi State was currently working on the cold room and walk-in facility.
“We are through with that and we have communicated the same to the Primary Healthcare Development Agency that we are ready to accept the vaccines.
“So, for anybody to go out there to say the governor is rejecting the vaccines is mischievous, misleading, false, and doesn’t represent the facts on ground here.”
Speaking further, Fanwo said Governor Bello’s position on the COVID-19 pandemic had won him admirers across the globe and had further enhanced his political career.
According to him, those who erroneously believed that the governor’s statement in which he said that he won’t receive the vaccine would have a negative impact on his political career are wrong as many people, even from outside the country, had been applauding him for his brave stance.
The commissioner, who also said he would not take the vaccine, however, said the state government would administer it on citizens who expressed willingness to do so.
“To a very large extent, his position on COVID-19 is going to enhance it because all the things he said are coming to pass.
“He said the humongous billions that we are putting into the management of COVID-19 should be expended on improving our health facilities. Now, leaders around the world are saying the same thing.”