***Says most of the new findings vindicate his earlier position
***Reels out achievements in health, education sectors
Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has reiterated his earlier position on the ruse about COVID-19.
He maintained that COVID-19 is not deadlier than other diseases ravaging the country hence equal attention should be given to cholera and other more deadly diseases.
In his new year broadcast to the people of the State on Saturday the Governor indicated that from the death ratio of COVID-19 which stands at 1.39% in Nigeria it is not deadlier than other diseases.
Recall that in a viral video, the Kogi governor condemned the use of the vaccine, saying it was meant to kill people.
Speaking in the said video while addressing a crowd, Bello doubted the authenticity of the vaccine, saying there is no cure for HIV and many other diseases troubling mankind.
“Vaccines are being produced in less than one year of COVID-19. There is no vaccine yet for HIV, malaria, cancer, headache and for several other diseases that are killing us. They want to use the (COVID-19) vaccines to introduce the disease that will kill you and us. God forbid,” he had said.
He even used what happened in Kano during the Pfizer polio vaccines that crippled and killed many children as a reason for Nigerians to beware.
“If they say they are taking the vaccines in the public allow them take their vaccines. Don’t say I said you should not take it but if you want to take it open your eyes before you take the vaccines.”
Continuing with his new year message, the Governor said
“So far we have found no reason to believe that the death ratio of Covid-19 which currently stands at 1.39% in Nigeria is evolving into deadlier numbers than those of the other diseases we have to grapple with too.
“In fact, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed again this month that Cholera had claimed far more lives in Nigeria in 2021 than the dreaded coronavirus pandemic has been able to do since its advent.
“Given this information and the need for us to protect all of our people against all threats, as well as the competing demands on our scarce resources, we frankly cannot in good conscience justify spending more on Covid-19 than cholera, malaria, or any of the childhood killer diseases.
“By distancing ourselves from the mass hysteria in this way we have been able to keep a cool head and confront the pandemic without fear. “The result is clear – Kogi State remains safe. Our public health institutions are in a permanent state of heightened vigilance but our society is opened for life and business to go on.
“Our people are also free to come and go while observing appropriate public health and hygiene protocols, especially those that engender protection against diseases generally and improve the overall wellbeing of the general populace. “This is why we continue to sensitise against open defecation, production, sale and consumption of unsafe foods and disregard for appropriate postures or covers while sneezing or coughing.
“Today, global expert opinion is swinging towards allowing populations and governments to have more elbow room in deciding how they will respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I can say that in this regard Kogi State has been an outlier in Nigeria since the pandemic began and we intend to keep it so.
“You, our dear people, can continue to trust us to keep monitoring the evolving situations closely, with an eye on the science while allowing common sense to guide us in your overriding best interests. “We will also continue to keep you updated with the right information, and when necessary, effective advisories.”
On the new year he said,
“We celebrate the divine gift of life as we bid 2021 goodbye and welcome 2022. We thank God for navigating us through a year which tried the courage of many individuals and the resilience of practically every nation on the earth.
“The last 12 months have been challenging – for the world, for Nigeria, and for us in Kogi State. The battles we have fought and the victories we have won do not speak of our own wisdom or power but of the mercy and compassion of the Almighty God, to Whom be all the Glory.
“Like the year 2020, 2021 found itself in the shadows of the Covid-19 pandemic. Everything from international travel to national economies continue to be adversely impacted by the genuine efforts, but also by the uncertainties and yes, shenanigans, around the disease.
“As of today, scientists and world leaders are reworking their responses to Covid-19 as the world learns more about how it mutates and spreads.
“Not surprisingly, at least to me, much of the new knowledge continue to affirm positions I have adopted from the beginning.
“In the face of conflicting information about the disease, the Kogi State Government that I lead chose early to keep an eagle eye on the case Fatality Rate of Covid-19 more than any other epidemiological event or data set associated with it.
“We also do same with each variant. This helps us to determine quickly how worried we should be for our people with each variant. Once we know the likely fatal impact, we are then able to make intelligent governance decisions on how to respond to it.
“We are then able to compare and contrast this information in relation to the threats posed by perennial killer diseases in our society such as malaria, cholera, lassa fever, yellow fever, meningitis, etc.
“It becomes easy after that to allocate resources appropriately towards each public health threat confronting us.
“In 27 days’ time we will step into the 7th year of our exciting journey in this New Direction. For each and every one of those years, I make bold to say, we have made consistent progress towards sustainable, verifiable and replicable results.
“Every year we have reached for new altitudes in governance and established fresh attitudes in leadership in pursuit of our electoral promises to you. Today, our results speak louder than ourselves.
“When we emphasise the successes of our response strategy to Covid-19 as I have just done above, we do so as part of accounting for our overall achievements in government.
“Our best value has always come from putting our people and the things that are important to them first. “In our effort to do more of this we made Education, Health, Infrastructure and Utilities, Job Creation and Youth Engagement, Civil Service and Pension Reforms, Agriculture, Security, as well as Cooperation and Integration among all Nigerians in our state our expanded thematic focus in this second term.
“Generally speaking, we have been spectacularly and successfully busy in the health sector, way beyond Covid-19. In our first term we constructed, renovated or equipped hundreds of Primary Healthcare Centres across the state, with a good number of them fitted with solar lighting facilities to ensure that they can operate by day and by night.
He said they have maintained the tempo into his second term as they have been upgrading secondary and tertiary healthcare infrastructure across Kogi State.
“Some of our enduring legacy efforts in this area include the construction of a 300-bed Reference Hospital in Okene. When completed it will have ultramodern equipment for diagnosis and treatment of most diseases occurring in our society.
“We are also renovating and remodeling the Specialist Hospital, Lokoja including the construction of a brand new administrative block.
“At the same time we are building brand new General Hospitals in Badoko, Ajaokuta LGA and Gegu Beki in Kogi LGA.
“We are also constructing a new clinical complex in Prince Abubakar Audu University Teaching Hospital, Anyigba as we rush to start a medical programme in the school.
“In addition, we are constructing an advanced clinical complex in the General Hospital, Isanlu simultaneously with comprehensive overhauls of the Zonal Hospital Idah and Adavi Eba Cottage Hospital.
“So, as you can see, we are not talking COVID for lack of any other achievement, but as a necessary corollary to all we do to secure the healthcare and wellbeing of you great people of Kogi State.”