COVID-19: N400bn too much, I can help procure vaccines for N150bn, Peter Obi tells FG; Nigerians react

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 Prominent Nigerian politician Peter Obi has offered to help Nigeria procure vaccines at a cheaper price

 Nigeria’s health minister had said the FG would need N400 billion to procure COVID-19 vaccines to administer of 70% of the population.

 However, Obi said Nigeria does not need more than N150 billion to procure the vaccines.

Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra, has reacted to the statement by Nigeria’s health minister, Osagie Ehanire, that the federal government needs about N400 billion for COVID-19 vaccines.

Ehanire had said N400 billion would be required to vaccinate 70 percent of Nigeria’s over 200 million population, at $8 per person.

However, Obi who is also a former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said Nigeria does not need more than N150 billion to procure the vaccines.

The Cable reports that Obi stated this when he appeared as a guest on ARISE Television on Tuesday, February 2.

Obi said with the N400 billion the minister mentioned, Nigeria will get about 350 million doses which is far in excess of what the country needs.

He said:

“For the vaccine procurement also, we need to have transparency in the procurement. Today, vaccine in India costs between $2 25 cents to $3. That is an average of $2.75 and if you say you are going to use N400 billion, that is about $1bn. If you divide $1bn by $2.75cents each, that is about 350 million doses which is far in excess of what we need.”

The former governor volunteered that he will help with the negotiation and help the country procure the vaccine from India at price far below what the health minister mentioned.

He added that Nigeria would not have needed to spend so much in procuring vaccines if its National Vaccine Production Facility was operational.

His words:

“The issue of vaccine is one that I feel a sense of pain.

“Nigeria as a country in 1940 established what we called National Vaccine Production Facility domiciled in Yaba, and that was able to produce virtually all the vaccines we used in the days of smallpox, yellow fever, and that facility was shut down in 1991 to be refurbished and upgraded, there was nothing wrong with it.”

Nigerians react

Obi’s statement has drawn reactions from Nigerians on social media. Below is a few of the comments.

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Wesley Akintayo said on Facebook:

“The way our top government officials call billions like 2k naira is disturbing. How much will it cost to build a facility where vaccines can be produced, just like every other facilities e.g. refineries? We are not just ready having these wicked and dubious people at the seat of authority!”

Emmanuel Kings Ocheme said:

“For once i agree with you..they will award contract because some people must chop. The 400b is not for the vaccines alone. Middlemen share dey there too”

Chilee Edwin said:

“Please give him the contract with terms and specifications let him enter into agreement never to give excuses”

Ben Otote said:

“We can’t afford the use of fake vaccines. The nation’s health is involved here . Everything should not be viewed from the perspective of “containers”.”

Moses Owolabi said:

“Better to repair, consolidate and spread evenly the existing health infrastructure. Spending a whopping 400b naira on vaccines is just a way of making some public servants billionaires overnight.”

 

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