By Saliu Momodu
Once upon a time in the early days following the break of the COVID-19 last year, a Federal Minister made headlines with the promise of a whooping sum as prize money for whoever could come up with a vaccine or a cure for the novel disease. Following in his heels were those who parroted myriad claims to a vaccine and even a cure.
Though some of us knew at the time that it was all showmanship, I for one never expected the current level of public docility and acquiescence as now being witnessed regarding vaccines and their planned administration nationwide.
There are clear indications that this government is in a hurry to procure very large doses of these substances and to so administer upon her populace without any prerequisite or accompanying program for due diligence. There is nothing to suggest any adaptive investigations in any quarters towards the real and evident justification for such a humongous move.
This is not about denying the reality of the COVID neither is it about being an anti-vacccination advocate. What is in contention here is that beyond the hysteria as has been created with the national and state tasks forces, science and health is still the central matter at hand but sadly, very little argument and conversation in being afforded in that department.
Even if we cannot make the COVID vaccine in this country or any vaccine for that matter, can we not at least have a way to check and ascertain the safety, wholesomeness and effectiveness of the vial content we intend to inject into the body of those who, to start with, pass as a very well, healthy and agile population?
This is particularly required when considered against the backdrop of so much credible resentment, concerns, speculations and evident contradictions around the vaccines in particular and regarding the entire COVID-19 phenomenon in general.
Only recently, the sitting Kogi State Governor, a member of the national ruling party who sits in the national security council meetings raised more doubts and literarily casted aspersions at the handling and handlers of the COVID hysteria. One would expect such bold and effacing accusations would be hurriedly met by a befitting and reassuring response from the presidency or other indicted agencies and personalities, but we wait in vain.
And then you wonder what our laboratories and research agencies, together with their heads and countless employees are doing on their own part. Needless to ask about their budgets and activities all these years in this country.
But if the government is not volunteering answers and the populace are too uneducated to demand any, how about our journalists, our legal practitioners, our teachers and lecturers? What about you reading this piece right now?
Furthermore, that we are to dole out an unprecedented amount of our money to the tune of hundreds of billions of naira from a borrowing-economy in order to satisfy this agenda is another matter for thorough reappraisal.
It behoves therefore that government and particularly the populace take a more critical look at this very fast development before we all cross the Rubicon beyond which there will be no return.
It is important to safeguard the precious lives of all those potentially susceptible to the virulent COVID much as the lives of the rest of the population equally matter on the same scale.
Saliu Momodu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org