COVID-19 VACCINE: Lagos targets 60 per cent rollout, as State engages pfizer, other vaccine developers

•Sanwo-Olu Reveals Lagos’ Plans Towards Ending Pandemic On Live TV Interview

•Sanwo-Olu Reveals Lagos’ Plans Towards Ending Pandemic On Live TV Interview

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has revealed the State Government’s plan on Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine rollout and the effort to bolster mass vaccination of residents in the State.

Lagos, Sanwo-Olu disclosed, is aiming to achieve 60 per cent vaccine rollout when the vaccination programme commences in the coming weeks, stressing that the figure would help check rate of transmission and build the resilience of the State against the ravaging virus.

The Governor spoke on “Sunday Politics”, a live television programme anchored by Channels TV’s Kayode Okikiolu. He also spoke on activities of his Government since inception and other germane issues around development of Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu said the State Government did not have the plan to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to all residents, as the State may not have the resources to do that; he said critical segments in the State population would be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity against the pandemic.

Aside the vaccine arrangement being made by the Federal Government for States, the Governor said Lagos, which is the epicentre of COVID-19 infection, had activated plans to augment the vaccine that would be delivered to the State.

He said: “As a sovereign, we want the Federal Government to take the lead in getting the vaccine. As a sub-national Government, we are taking our destiny into our own hand. We have started conversation with some of the vaccine manufacturers. I have made contact with Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca. Developers of Moderna have written to us and we have written back to them.

“We are making our own sub-national contacts and part of the things to come out of this effort is that, once we see what the national government is doing in terms of protocols, then we can plan for our rollout. The contacts we made with vaccine developers are at the board level.

“We don’t have to vaccinate the whole of 22 million people in Lagos. The plan is around ensuring that there is herd immunity and that typically speaks to 50 to 60 percent of our population. That’s the target we need to really meet in vaccine rollout.”

On how Lagos would get resources to fund its vaccine programme, the Governor said the bulk of the finances would be realised from the private sector donations and international grants, adding that the State Government also had allocation for COVID-19 project in its 2021 budget.

Sanwo-Olu also spoke on how his administration had strengthened security and the plan to improve efficiency of security architecture in Lagos.

He said Lagos would continue to push for domestication of State Policing as a strategy to efficiently combat crime and strengthen security across the State. He stressed the need to employ technology in intelligence gathering, noting that the State Government was on the verge of rolling out 2,000 security cameras across communities through the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF).

He said: “One of the things we can do quickly is to improve the ratio of police to citizens number. That has not happened in a number of years. We believe that Lagos is under-policed, even as human population increases. If we address this imbalance through State Policing model, we can see a turnaround in security response. We are ready to have this conversation with the Police Force whenever they are ready.

“In our Smart City project, we are installing 2,000 high-definition security cameras to boost security architecture in Lagos. We are set and before the end of the year, a lot of cameras will be up on our streets. Technology is one of the things we can use to efficiently provide security. With the data from the cameras, we can get more deterrent from troublemakers.”

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.