By Luminous Jannamike – Abuja
The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, and the apex body of Muslim scholars and Imams, on Friday, expressed no doubt in the ability and commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to continue and win the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The Muslim clerics, in a communique issued to journalists at the end of a sensitisation programme on COVID-19 vaccine, which was jointly organised by the NSCIA and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency in Abuja, that they had confidence in the ability of the Federal Government to carry on with quality tests on the medicine before administering them on Nigerians.
This is coming on the heels of conspiracy theories and palpable fears expressed by Nigerians regarding the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and the intent of their producers for Africans.
However, the communique co-signed by Sultan Abubakar himself, the NSCIA’s Secretary-General, Professor Ishaq Oloyede; the NSCIA’s Deputy National Legal Adviser (for Imams), Barr. Haroun Muhammad Eze; the Head of NSCIA’s Media Committee (for Scholars), Professor Mahfouz Adedimeji; and the Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib; stated that Nigerian Muslims believe the President would not aid and abet the killing Nigerian citizens by foreigners.
The document reads partly, “There are many conspiracy theories in the public domain on COVID-19 and its vaccines, which would make interventions require adequate sensitisation and trust-building.
“The Federal Government, through NPHCDA and other agencies, should continue to dispel rumours and lies in circulation about COVID-19 vaccines and from those who dismiss COVID-19 outright as a hoax.
“No stone should be left unturned in dispelling the fears of people with authentic information and enlightening the public with genuine knowledge about the specifics of the vaccines, including their manufacturers, to build trust and boost public confidence.
“It would be preposterous to assume that a Government overwhelmingly elected by Nigerians would aid and abet the killing of her own citizens by foreigners and there is no truth in the claim that some people want to use vaccines to kill Nigerians.
“If foreigners want to harm Nigerians through vaccines and other means, they could have done so and there was no basis waiting for a pandemic to do that.
“Muslims have confidence in the Federal Government and believe that despite the World Health Organisation’s pre-qualification of COVID-19 vaccines, appropriate tests and certifications have to be conducted on the vaccines before administering them on Nigerians.
“The Federal Government must subject COVID-19 vaccines to the integrity tests of NAFDAC and other health authorities that should certify the vaccines safe and effective before releasing them to the public.
“We would continue to sensitise our audiences, congregations and the public at large on COVID-19 and its vaccines as a way clearing the doubts that conspiracy theorists produce and circulate.
“COVID-19 is real and spreading; thus, no effort should be spared to confront it given its high transmission rate.
“Muslims will be encouraged to adhere to the Islamic provision of taking curative and preventive vaccines as long as they do not contain haram or undermine public wellbeing.”