COVID-19: We Don’t Need To Vaccinate 20 Million Lagos Residents, Says Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has said that his administration does not need to vaccinate over 20 million residents of the state against the deadly COVID-19.

He disclosed this during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, adding that the state government is engaging some companies in the production of COVID-19 vaccines for residents of the state.

“It is important for me to make this. We don’t have to vaccinate the 20 or 22 million population that we have. The plan is to ensure that there is herd immunity and that typically speaks about 50 to 60 percent of your population, that is the kind of target that you really meet,” he said.

“We have started a conversation with some of the vaccine manufacturers. Pfizer for example, I have made contact with them, Johnson and Johnson are not out yet, the Moderna has written to us and we have written back to them.”

When asked how the government intends to fund the vaccine, Sanwo-Olu said his administration is engaging with the private sector.

He said although the state government has earmarked billions in fighting the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted the amount wouldn’t be enough.

“The conversations are still at various levels. We are speaking with the organised private sector so they can help us raise some of the finance that is required.

“We have our friends in the private sector who are saying to us that they understand this is a public health issue but we also can work with you. The citizens are your citizens but they also are our staff,” he added.

Speaking on the judicial panel of inquiry set up by the state government to address cases of police brutality, Governor Sanwo-Olu asked residents of the state to be patient.

He explained that upon the expiration of the six-month duration of the panel, the state government would implement the recommendations of the panel.

Under-Policed State

On security,  Sanwo-Olu admitted that the number of police officers manning Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre is inadequate for the city.

“We believe Lagos State is under policed in terms of the ratio. We believe that the population is also growing but we do not have the same growth in terms of the number of police officers that we have. That is some of the places where the imbalance lies,” the governor said while explaining his government’s efforts at combating crime.

“If we can get the ratio right, if we can get the proportion right, then we can see a lot more activity; you can see a quicker response time between when it (crime) happens and when they respond.”

While admitting that the State Government can do nothing to increase the number of police officers in the State, Governor Sanwo-Olu, however, assured that security officers will continue to get the government’s backing.

“The minimum I can do is to up the skills and up the infrastructure and the equipment for the number we have in the Lagos State Command,” he said.  “We give them all the support that they require.”

He explained that there are ongoing conversations with the Federal Government on the adoption of community policing as a means to tackle insecurity in Lagos State and the country at large, stressing that community-based policing has worked well in other parts of the world.

A strong tool

According to Sanwo-Olu, his government is adopting technology in the fight against crime in Lagos State.

“We are doing a 2,000 high definition CCTV camera infrastructure architecture in the state,” the governor said, noting that the project has started.

“Technology is one of the things we believe we can use as a strong tool to help the security architecture and make them do their work well.”

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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.