By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
Any attempt to commence the clinical trial of the proposed Coronavirus vaccine trial in Nigeria is dangerous to the peace and wellbeing of the people, the country’s leading anti-corruption group, HEDA, has said.
In a statement on Sunday, the Human Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) said reports that the World Health Organisation, (WHO) will commence the trial of the COVID-19 Vaccine being developed, is an attempt to use Nigerians as guinea pigs and undermine the dignity of the people.
The rights group said the WHO proposal has a lot of legal and health implications. HEDA Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, who signed the statement said it would begin legal proceedings against WHO and any other institution that may support the clinical trial of the Vaccine in Nigeria.
He said HEDA will be approaching the African Human Rights Court and the Nigerian Courts to seek legal redress and stop any plot to undermine the self-esteem and right of Nigerians.
“COVID-19 is not a Nigerian specific disease. It did not originate in Nigeria. Vaccine trials are an experimental phenomenon whose outcome and consequences remain unknown even to scientist that initiated them. That is why it is called Trial Vaccine. The possibility of the trial consuming human life is real”, Suraju stated.
The World Health Organisation, (WHO) said last week that Nigeria was willing to have the Vaccine trial in Nigeria as part of the global effort. But HEDA said the trial Vaccine has been trailed by controversies which border on contempt for African countries and what appeared like a mark of racism.
“It appears there is a conscious effort to have the vaccine trials in African countries with Nigeria chosen as a pilot project. We can assure WHO that this decision will be contested by HEDA using all available national and international legal instruments.” Suraju said
WHO Officer in Charge in Nigeria, Fiona Braka, while speaking during the Presidential Task Force Briefing on COVID-19 said efforts were underway to start the process in Nigeria.
But Suraju said it is suspicious that an official of WHO was the person announcing to Nigerians that there would be a Vaccine trial when the country has a Minister of Health and Minister of State for Health apart from the National Assembly Committees on Health adding that it all suggests a hidden agenda and undermining of our sovereignty.
She revealed that 89 vaccines were being developed across the world which included seven clinical evaluations and several therapeutics in clinical trials to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Braka said 100 WHO member countries have enlisted in the clinical trial launched by WHO. “Nigeria has also expressed interest to be part of this solidarity trial and efforts are underway to start the process in Nigeria too. Together with global health actors and partners, over the past week, WHO launched the access to COVID-19 tools ACT accelerator, a global collaboration to accelerate development for equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines” Braka had said.