Connect with us

Features

Challenges Of Water Resources Development In Nigeria

Published

on

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink’’ is a popular quote from “Rime of the Ancient Mariner’’, a poem by the English Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the early 1800s, and it exemplifies the concern that water can be abundant but unusable.

 The maxim aptly depicts the current situation in Nigeria, as the country, which is blessed and surrounded with a large volume of water, is still grappling with efforts to provide adequate potable water for its citizens.

   Available statistics indicate that Nigeria’s surface water is about 226 billion cubic metres, while the ground water is estimated at 406 billion cubic metres. Experts are of the opinion that if the water potential of the country is properly harnessed and utilised , it is enough to satisfy all human, industrial and agricultural as well as livestock needs.

   The Federal Ministry of Water Resources is entrusted with the responsibility of facilitating the provision of water for the citizens but many observers argue that   the ministry, in the past years, has not been able to fully discharge this function because of its merger with the agriculture ministry.

    A water expert, Mr Hope Ogbeide, said that the continuous  merger and de-merger of the water resources ministry had caused some setbacks for the ministry in moves to fulfil its mandate.

 Ogbeide stressed that the merger had particularly hindered the country’s efforts to provide water for the citizenry in a way that would enhance public health, food security and poverty eradication, among others.

“The agricultural sector had overshadowed the water sector and investments in the water sector were less than those in the agric sector and the development led to the abandonment of most of the viable water projects,’’ he said.

However, the Federal Government, apparently aware of these limitations, has decided to restructure the ministry.  In April this year, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, then the country’s Acting President, appointed and swore in Mr Obadiah Ando as the new Minister of Water Resources.

The minister’s inauguration elicited some measure of hope from officials, the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the water sector, as well as other stakeholders.

Ando’s appointment after his retirement as the ministry’s Director Planning Research and Statistics 15 years ago is seen by many stakeholders as the beginning of efforts to restore the ministry’s lost glory. 

However, the task before the new minister appears to be challenging, while people’s expectations about a positive turn-around of the water sector are rife, regardless of the fact that he has only one year to spend in office.

Apparently aware of the people’s expectations, Ando, on assumption of office, pledged to make potable water available, particularly in the country’s rural areas. 

 His words: “I thank God for this privilege and I have promised Acting President (now President) Jonathan that I will make water available in the rural areas.

 “As you are aware, most of the diseases in Nigeria are water-borne. So, I will strive to reduce the syndrome. By the time I complete my tenure, I should be able to look back and say we had accomplished a lot.

 “But I need your cooperation to achieve our goals and if there is anyone who is not ready to work, he can either seek transfer or retire voluntarily. We should do our best to justify the confidence the people reposed in us,’’ he admonished the ministry’s officials.

The minister, however, gave the assurance that in spite of the de-merger of the ministries of water resources and agriculture, the two agencies would still play complementary roles.

“I see the de-merger not as a separation of twins but as one that will continue to complement each other; this is because we are expected to work together as a team.               “For us, we will provide adequate water for people’s farms. We will also use the dams for power generation activities to enable the Ministry of Power to generate enough electricity.

“That is one area we shall focus our attention on for now. We will work with all the agencies, especially those that relate with us directly,’’ Ando said.

Aware of the need to carry along workers in carrying out his duties, the minister solicited the officials’ cooperation.

“If you do the right thing, if you are honest and hardworking, we shall all move in the right direction,’’ Ando assured the officials.In spite of all the minister’s assurances, some water experts particularly urge Ando to execute the National Water Resources Master Plan which was developed in concert with the Japanese government in 1995.

Mr Ibrahim Yusuf, a water engineer, argued that the full implementation of the master plan would engender the revival of the water sector, while boosting the utilisation of the country’s vast water resources.He stressed that the master plan would aid the minister in efforts to provide potable water for people in the rural areas. Yusuf noted that all aspects of the water sector such as dams, irrigation, erosion control, hydropower and water supply were addressed in the master plan with project costs attached to them.

The setback we experienced in the sector for the past two years is due to the inability to implement the plan; it is a good document that can be subjected to  reviews over the years,’’ he said.

Mr Peter Nze, a water resources analyst, urged the minister to fast-track the implementation of projects, saying: “We have lost so much in terms of implementation of water supply, dams and irrigation projects.

“For the past two and half years, nothing has been achieved. So, we urge the minister to focus on the development and utilisation of the water resources in an integrated manner.

“Irrigation and dam projects should be executed, so as to empower rural communities and provide job opportunities for people across the country,’’ he said.

 Nze, however, stressed that need for the minister to accord priority attention to projects such as flood-control, hydropower, inland waterways development, fresh fish production and afforestation schemes.

He particularly canvassed the need to promptly complete the Kashimbilla Dam so as to check the menace which a collapse of the structurally weak volcanic Lake Nyos, in Cameroon, could cause. Nze also wanted considerable emphasis placed on the development of hydro-power resources, as part of efforts to end to the persistent power crisis in Nigeria. Besides, he urged the minister to facilitate the ministry’s collaboration with the National Inland Water Ways Authority and other relevant agencies in efforts to develop and utilise the country’s water resources. Mrs Lydia Okoro, a civil servant, advised the minister to focus his attention on boreholes, dams and irrigation schemes. “Nigeria has a large body of water; the water resources should be utilised for poverty eradication, wealth creation, employment generation and the improvement of the people’s lives in general,’’ she said.“Due to his short tenure in office, the minister should narrow down his attention to small-scale water projects instead of embarking on big projects which he would not be able to complete by the time he leaves office,’’ she added.

 Dr Gabriel Dimlong, a water resources analyst, advised the minister to initiate efforts to revive water projects that were hitherto abandoned.

“The water sector has been relegated to the background due to the ministries’ merger and this had led to the stoppage of many viable water projects. Efforts should be made to revive those projects,’’ he said.

 A sanitation consultant, Mrs Comfort Olayiwole, however, wanted the minister to give tangible emphasis to the sanitation aspects of his water supply programmes.

According to her, embarking on water supply projects without taking due cognisance of their sanitation and hygiene components will be counter-productive.

“The new minister should not focus only on ensuring the provision of potable water but he should also ensure the promotion of hygienic practices among the people, the beneficiaries of the projects,’’ she said.

Besides, the consultant stressed the need to empower the communities to enable them to regularly maintain the water facilities and their sanitation components, adding, however, that the Federal Government should give the people the requisite technical support.

“They know the right thing to do; all they need is a proper coordination to enable them to do it at the right time. Emphasis should be, however, placed on cleanliness, good sanitary facilities and hygienic practices,’’ Olayiwole said.

She warned that if the government failed to give the communities the essential technical support, the water projects’ impact on the lives of the people would be minimal.

Meanwhile, Ms Junita During, the WaterAid’s Head of Governance, has urged the new minister to implement the “e-Thekwine Declaration’’ so to enable Nigeria to meet the sanitation targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The e-Thekwini Declaration, signed in 2008 in Durban, South Africa, during the AfricaSan Conference, sets global targets for political commitment to put Africa back on track in meeting the sanitation targets of the MDGs.

During said:  “We are really excited about President Goodluck Jonathan’s efforts in the water sector, particularly for his decision to have a separate ministry for water resources.

“There are so much that can be achieved. For instance, the e-Thekwine Declaration wants a separate budget for sanitation activities and proposes the allocation of a minimum of .05 per cent of the GDP to sanitation.

“The declaration also talks about national sanitation plans and some other things. Efforts should now be taken to implement some of the commitments spelt out in the declaration with a new drive and a new focus,’’ she added.

During lamented that the water sector had suffered a lot of neglect when it was subsumed under the Ministry of Agriculture, saying that “we are quite excited about the demerger because a lot of us have been calling for it for so long.

 “We encourage the new minister to speedily set the ball rolling; marshal his plans and execute his programmes, considering the limited time at his disposal and the huge challenges confronting the sector,’’ she said .

During gave the assurance that WaterAid would work with the minister and other stakeholders in the water sector in efforts to provide safe water to the citizens and ensure basic water sanitation.

 All the same, concerned citizens warn the Federal Government against the temptation of merging the water resources ministry with any other ministry in future, saying that the water sector requires serious government activities that are coordinated under the aegis of a separate ministry.

Ologunagha writes for NAN

 

Cecilia Ologunagba

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Features

Accelerating Gender Parity In Nigeria

Published

on

In virtually all societies, women are in an inferior position to men. Sex or gender determines  more rights and dignity for men in legal, social and cultural situations, These are reflected on unequal access to or enjoyment of rights in favour of men.
There are also the assumption of stereotype social and cultural roles.
In Nigeria, gender inequality has been for decades in spite of modernization and the fact that many females have done better than men in many spheres.
Analysts are convinced that gender inequality is largely influenced by religious and cultural beliefs, as some cultures and religions still hold strongly that women are the weaker vessels created mainly to be home keepers and child bearers.
Analysts are also worried that gender inequality negatively affects status in all areas of life in society, whether public or private, in the family or labour market.
Although the Global Gender Gap Report 2018 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows some progress amongst the 149 countries that were indexed, the progress toward closing the gender gap is slow, because it will take 108 years to close the gender gap and another 202 years to achieve parity in the workforce, according to the report.
The report benchmarks the 149 countries on their progress toward gender parity across four dimensions – economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
A number of initiatives have been made by corporate organisations and governmental and non-governmental organisations  to address gender imbalance in Nigeria.
One of the latest is the launch of First Women Network  (FWN) by the First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., in commemoration of the 2019 International Women’s Day (IWD).
IWD is celebrated globally every March 8 to recognise social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
The celebration is also a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
The global theme for the 2019 celebration is “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” while the theme for the social media campaign is “#BalanceforBetter”.
According to the bank, the FWN initiative is an avenue for career management and mentoring for women to enable them to balance their career with private endeavours.
The aim,  according to the bank, is to address gender gap and increase women representation in its senior and executive levels, as well as encourage women to tap into opportunities and contribute to nation-building.
The bank’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Adesola Adeduntan,  explains that First Women Network is targeted at the banks’ staff and customers, among others.
He believes that women can achieve more if given the necessary strategic support, hoping that the initiative
will increase the bank’s productivity and profitability.
Adeduntan notes that the initiative is  also a demonstration of First Bank’s adherence to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Sustainable Development Goals which mandate increased women representation in all banks.
The sustainable goals require that the financial services sector should adopt a quota system to increase women representation on boards to 30 per cent and that of senior management level to 40 per cent by 2014.
Adeduntan is optimistic that the FWN will address six key area –  career management, personal branding, mentoring, welfare, financial planning and empowerment.
He is convinced that the initiative will address gender disparity at the workplace.
“It is commonly agreed that gender parity is an essential factor influencing the advancement of institutions, economies and societies.
“Studies have shown that gender parity in corporations promotes increased performance and returns on investment.
“The need to invest in composite women empowerment and enhance their contributions at senior management levels to achieve organisational goals cannot be over-emphasised,” the CEO says.
For him,  it is paradoxical that the presence of women in paid employments continues to increase, yet the progression of professional women to positions of leadership and management remains slow.
“Gender gaps persist in economic opportunities and political participation in many countries.
“This is part of the reasons for this women network initiative,” he notes.
The chief executive officer wants employers of labour and the entire society to encourage women to advance, excel and contribute optimally in  workplaces and communities.
Mr Abiodun  Famuyiwa, group head, Products and Marketing Support, promises that First Bank  will continue to promote female entrepreneurship for national growth and development.
“We recognise that promoting female entrepreneurship and independence is key to economic viability of every home in the country,” he says.
 According to him, FWN is a further demonstration of the bank’s commitment to women empowerment after the launch  of FirstGem in 2016.
He is satisfied that FirstGem is providing opportunities for women to achieve their financial goals and aspirations through with access to support funds, free business advice, specialised trainings on business development and insight on business development.
For Mr Lampe Omoyele, managing director, Nitro 121, an integrated marketing communications agency,  points out that courage is important in addressing gender imbalance.
“For gender imbalance to be resolved, there has to be courage, vision, values and character,” he says.
He is convinced that women should  have courage and confidence in taking risks within  organisations.
Omoyele advises that women must not play the victims.
“Ultimately, whether you are a female or male, what is going to sustain you is your character and values.
“You need to have values; character is important in the balance that we live to, and it sustains you as you move into the future,” he adds.
The Chief Executive Officer,  Standard  Chartered Bank, Mrs Bola Adesola, wants women to take advantage of FWN to make their lives better.
 She urges women to aspire to grow in their endeavours and refuse be limited because of their gender, stressing that they should use all resources at their disposal to grow.
 For the bank chief, FWN is not a silver bullet to creating the first female chief executive officer of First Bank, but  about opportunity.
“So, it is important that as women, we take advantage of it,” she urges.
 Ms Cecilia Akintomide, independent non-executive director, FBN Holdings Plc, is dissatisfied that Nigeria is still far in gender balancing.
Akintomide says Nigerian  women are still being restricted from working in some places and owning some property.
According to her, restrictions are rendering 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population –  mainly women –  economically unviable.
 A First Bank customer,  Mrs Ifeyinwa Okoye, lauds the FWN, and urges the bank to ensure that its customers – the secondary target of FWN –  benefit from it.
Okoye describes women as critical to economic growth and development but regrets that many women were lagging behind in their endeavours because of gender inequality.
She wants the banks to enlighten its customers on FWN for maximum results.
 “If you empower a woman, you empower a nation.
“Empowering women is especially effective because the benefits are felt throughout the whole community,” she argues.
Analysts call for more strategic support for Nigerian women to  enhance gender parity.


By: Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
Joel-Nwokeoma is of the News Agency of Nigeria.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Features

Covid-19 Vaccination: Role Of Local Leaders

Published

on

It was a matter of time, but Covid-19 vaccination has already started to generate heated arguments following a hint that the Federal Government could start sanctioning anybody who refused to be vaccinated.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director,  National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, disclosed this at a recent press conference in Abuja. He, however, said that implementation was dependent on availability of the vaccines.
“The Presidential Steering Committee and the Federal Ministry of Health are exploring ways of making vaccines more available to all Nigerians, including federal civil servants and corporate entities.
“Once these vaccines are made equitably available to all Nigerians, then we will need to have a frank discussion about justice, fairness and liberty that exist around vaccine hesitancy.
“So, you have a right to refuse vaccines, but you do not have the right to endanger the health of others,” he said.
Already, attempts have been made by two states – Ondo and Edo – to make Covid-19 vaccination compulsory, especially for public servants and members of the public who wish to gain access to certain places.
These places include religious worship centres, banks and public buildings.
However, those attempts and the suggestion that the Federal Government might sanction those who refuse vaccination have been criticised by some trade, professional and religious associations.
 The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) that kicked against the compulsory vaccination, said that government should rather embark on advocacy and persuasion, than coerce citizens into getting vaccinated.
The spokesman for JOHESU, Mr Olumide Akintayo, said the policy would only be sensible if there were enough vaccines to inoculate eligible citizens.
Akintayo stated: “If you are thinking of it in terms of responsibility, it makes sense; but practically, we all know it is an impossible task.
“ If all the doses that have been sent to Nigeria since this outbreak is less than 10 million, how do you enforce that kind of policy in a country of over 200 million people?
“You don’t just come up with policies that are not backed by common sense; you don’t just say things because you want to talk. It would have made some sense if the vaccines are available for everyone.”
The General Secretary of the NMA, Philips Ekpe, said citizens could not be forced to be vaccinated against Covid-19 the same way they had the right to reject medical treatment.
Rather than being forced, he said Nigerians should be made to understand the need to be vaccinated. 
According to him, although they cannot be forced, citizens who refuse vaccination should stay in their houses so that they don’t endanger others.
He said: “The Federal Government needs to make people understand the reason why they need to be vaccinated. They have the right to say no. You cannot force people. People have the right to say no to medical treatment.
“But you should let them understand the dangers of not getting vaccinated.
“For example, if you want to travel out of the country, if you are not vaccinated, you will not be let in. The reason is because the other country you are going to won’t want to endanger the lives of its citizens.
“Let them understand the importance, but then if they refuse, they should stay in their houses and not go out and endanger others.”
Experts believe that properly communicating the advantages of being vaccinated, through the use of existing structures, such as religious and cultural institutions, would yield better results than subtle threats.
Communication connotes persuasion, even on occasions when the purpose of a piece of communication is not to persuade, there is still the need to win over the audience to accept the message.
In this era of fake news, and when the social media is awash with conspiracy theories against vaccination, persuasion must first be deployed to get the attention of citizens.
The burden increases tremendously when there are cultural and religious stereotypes which could prevent many adherents from accepting that being vaccinated is safe.
This challenge is not peculiar to Nigeria. In the U.S. for instance, vaccine hesitancy is responsible for over 90 per cent of all Covid-19 related hospitalisation.
Getting some Americans vaccinated has been so challenging that many people have been offered monetary incentives to convince them to get vaccinated in an unusual case of persuasion.
In Nigeria, where religious and traditional leaders are custodians of faith and culture respectively, they wield great influence on devotees and those institutions can be deployed to boost vaccination drive.
Historically, religious and traditional rulers often employ the cognitive process of persuasive communication to change an entrenched social perception or public opinion hindering required public support for relevant people-oriented policies.
Leaders have the influence to subtly appeal to the target to listen, accept, comprehend and act.
Therefore, before considering the stick, government should first explore the use of carrot.
Religious and traditional leaders can help in giving correct messages on vaccination as well as being role models, making sure that they and their loved ones too are vaccinated.
Faith-based and culture-based organisations can also collaborate with other leaders to sensitise communities on the benefits of vaccination and to also dispel the many myths and disinformation about it.
King Bubaraye Dakolo of Epetiama Kingdom in Bayelsa has been putting this practice to use, since vaccination was first rolled out in Nigeria in March.
“The arrival of the vaccine brought a huge relief to our kingdom. I mobilised my people to carry out awareness campaigns in the various communities to guard against apathy.
“My council chiefs and I led by example in being vaccinated early. When the people saw that, they were fully convinced that the vaccine is not harmful.
“We made it clear to our people through town hall meetings that the vaccine is safe and is designed to save humanity.
“We equally reminded them how some persons who refused to be vaccinated for poliomyelitis in the past are suffering the consequences of their actions today,” the traditional ruler said. 
According to the WHO Covid-19 Dashboard, Nigeria had administered 4.4 million Covid-19 vaccine doses as at Aug. 31, 2021. Out of that number, 2.9 million Nigerians have been fully vaccinated, according to the NPHCDA.
With a fairly efficient vaccination structure, owing to many years of immunisation against polio, the Nigerian government should activate collaboration with religious and traditional bodies in its vaccination drive.
Experts, including health professionals and public administrators, believe that involving these leaders in advocacy and public enlightenment will lead to more people accepting to voluntarily get Covid-19 vaccination.
Of course, with just a paltry 0.7 per cent of the population vaccinated, the key indicator for any punitive measure for avoiding vaccination will be subject to availability of the vaccines.
However, to achieve the goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of its 200 million population before the end of 2021 and 70 per cent by the end of 2022, Nigeria will need more than availability of vaccines.
There has to be the acceptance and willingness of the majority of its population to be vaccinated.
One of the crucial and effective way to achieve that is to work with religious and traditional leaders.

By: Kayode Adebiyi

Adebiyi writes for News Agency of Nigeria.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Features

COVID-19 Vaccination: Role Of Local Leaders

Published

on

It was a matter of time, but COVID-19 vaccination has already started to generate heated arguments following a hint that the Federal Government could start sanctioning anybody who refused to be vaccinated.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director,  National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), disclosed this at a recent press conference in Abuja. He, however, said that implementation was dependent on availability of the vaccines.
“The Presidential Steering Committee and the Federal Ministry of Health are exploring ways of making vaccines more available to all Nigerians, including federal civil servants and corporate entities.
“Once these vaccines are made equitably available to all Nigerians, then we will need to have a frank discussion about justice, fairness and liberty that exist around vaccine hesitancy.
“So, you have a right to refuse vaccines, but you do not have the right to endanger the health of others,” he said.
Already, attempts have been made by two states – Ondo and Edo – to make COVID-19 vaccination compulsory, especially for public servants and members of the public who wish to gain access to certain places.
These places include religious worship centres, banks and public buildings.
However, those attempts and the suggestion that the Federal Government might sanction those who refuse vaccination have been criticised by some trade, professional and religious associations.
 The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) that kicked against the compulsory vaccination, said that government should rather embark on advocacy and persuasion, than coerce citizens into getting vaccinated.
The spokesman for JOHESU, Mr Olumide Akintayo, said the policy would only be sensible if there were enough vaccines to inoculate eligible citizens.
Akintayo stated: “If you are thinking of it in terms of responsibility, it makes sense; but practically, we all know it is an impossible task.
“ If all the doses that have been sent to Nigeria since this outbreak is less than 10 million, how do you enforce that kind of policy in a country of over 200 million people?
“You don’t just come up with policies that are not backed by common sense; you don’t just say things because you want to talk. It would have made some sense if the vaccines are available for everyone.”
The General Secretary of the NMA, Philips Ekpe, said citizens could not be forced to be vaccinated against COVID-19 the same way they had the right to reject medical treatment.
Rather than being forced, he said Nigerians should be made to understand the need to be vaccinated. 
According to him, although they cannot be forced, citizens who refuse vaccination should stay in their houses so that they don’t endanger others.
He said: “The Federal Government needs to make people understand the reason why they need to be vaccinated. They have the right to say no. You cannot force people. People have the right to say no to medical treatment.
“But you should let them understand the dangers of not getting vaccinated.
“For example, if you want to travel out of the country, if you are not vaccinated, you will not be let in. The reason is because the other country you are going to won’t want to endanger the lives of its citizens.
“Let them understand the importance, but then if they refuse, they should stay in their houses and not go out and endanger others.”
Experts believe that properly communicating the advantages of being vaccinated, through the use of existing structures, such as religious and cultural institutions, would yield better results than subtle threats.
Communication connotes persuasion, even on occasions when the purpose of a piece of communication is not to persuade, there is still the need to win over the audience to accept the message.
In this era of fake news, and when the social media is awash with conspiracy theories against vaccination, persuasion must first be deployed to get the attention of citizens.
The burden increases tremendously when there are cultural and religious stereotypes which could prevent many adherents from accepting that being vaccinated is safe.
This challenge is not peculiar to Nigeria. In the U.S. for instance, vaccine hesitancy is responsible for over 90 per cent of all COVID-19 related hospitalisation.
Getting some Americans vaccinated has been so challenging that many people have been offered monetary incentives to convince them to get vaccinated in an unusual case of persuasion.
In Nigeria, where religious and traditional leaders are custodians of faith and culture respectively, they wield great influence on devotees and those institutions can be deployed to boost vaccination drive.
Historically, religious and traditional rulers often employ the cognitive process of persuasive communication to change an entrenched social perception or public opinion hindering required public support for relevant people-oriented policies.
Leaders have the influence to subtly appeal to the target to listen, accept, comprehend and act.
Therefore, before considering the stick, government should first explore the use of carrot.
Religious and traditional leaders can help in giving correct messages on vaccination as well as being role models, making sure that they and their loved ones too are vaccinated.
Faith-based and culture-based organisations can also collaborate with other leaders to sensitise communities on the benefits of vaccination and to also dispel the many myths and disinformation about it.
King Bubaraye Dakolo of Epetiama Kingdom in Bayelsa has been putting this practice to use, since vaccination was first rolled out in Nigeria in March.
“The arrival of the vaccine brought a huge relief to our kingdom. I mobilised my people to carry out awareness campaigns in the various communities to guard against apathy.
“My council chiefs and I led by example in being vaccinated early. When the people saw that, they were fully convinced that the vaccine is not harmful.
“We made it clear to our people through town hall meetings that the vaccine is safe and is designed to save humanity.
“We equally reminded them how some persons who refused to be vaccinated for poliomyelitis in the past are suffering the consequences of their actions today,” the traditional ruler said. 
According to the WHO COVID-19 Dashboard, Nigeria had administered 4.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as at Aug. 31, 2021. Out of that number, 2.9 million Nigerians have been fully vaccinated, according to the NPHCDA.
With a fairly efficient vaccination structure, owing to many years of immunisation against polio, the Nigerian government should activate collaboration with religious and traditional bodies in its vaccination drive.
Experts, including health professionals and public administrators, believe that involving these leaders in advocacy and public enlightenment will lead to more people accepting to voluntarily get COVID-19 vaccination.
Of course, with just a paltry 0.7 per cent of the population vaccinated, the key indicator for any punitive measure for avoiding vaccination will be subject to availability of the vaccines.
However, to achieve the goal of vaccinating 40 per cent of its 200 million population before the end of 2021 and 70 per cent by the end of 2022, Nigeria will need more than availability of vaccines.
There has to be the acceptance and willingness of the majority of its population to be vaccinated.
One of the crucial and effective way to achieve that is to work with religious and traditional leaders.

By: Kayode Adebiyi
Adebiyi writes for News Agency of Nigeria.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Trending