Bala Mohammed, Governor of Bauchi State, has urged Christians residing in the state to stop paying attention to “this campaign of calumny” and receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Governor Mohammed made the plea at the launch of the second round of the COVID-19 vaccination in the state, held at the Government House, Bauchi, on Saturday.
According to the governor, the Christians, who he described as the most enlightened of the state’s population, are being deceived by insinuations that the vaccine will affect their population.
He stated that he never expected such vaccine hesitancy from such people and, therefore, called on leading Christian clerics in the state to present themselves for vaccination in order to inspire their followers to receive the medication.
He said: “At this juncture, I want to call on my Christian brothers. I am surprised, not pleasantly, that most of them refused to present themselves, especially the members because of this campaign of calumny on population and demographics. They said they will not do it.
“Please, we are not expecting this from them because they are the most enlightened among our population and if they are not presenting themselves, the followers will not really present themselves.
“I am really excited that the Ulamas, including Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi, all the Emirs, all the Imams, including the Chief Imam, and indeed all the Ustaz, have presented themselves for this (vaccination). I, therefore, want my brothers and clergymen to take a cue from our Ulamas so that they will show an example and for us to have total coverage.”
Governor Mohammed insisted that the Bauchi State government would not be held responsible should Christians in the state planning on going for pilgrimage be rejected on the basis of not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
He said: “They have not allowed themselves to be vaccinated, apart from the officials of the Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, and that will leave us out in the next (pilgrimage) exercise. I must say this so that at the end of the day, the government of Bauchi will not be blamed.”
Speaking earlier, Dr Rilwan Mohammed, Executive Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, appealed to the governor to prevail on the Christian community in the state, pointing out that their refusal to be vaccinated was causing a setback in the state.
He said the state received a total of 105,020 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and had vaccinated no fewer than 47,290 people.