By Chioma Ndife
The Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, his Lordship Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, has called for the trial of the coronavirus vaccines which some Nigerians have developed sequel to the outbreak of pandemic in the country.
Bishop Okoye made the call while speaking to Fides in his residence at Ekwulobia, Aguata LGA, Anambra State, on the need for Nigerian Leaders to adopt the habit of encouraging and developing local talents for the achievement of a more vibrant economy.
He noted that the trial sessions to be carried out by relevant scientific agencies on the locally made drugs, which their producers said were effective in the treatment of coronavirus, would either confirm or disprove the veracity of the claims of indigenous drug producers.
He said it was important for those in-charge to examine critically all claims relating to providing cure for the deadly virus.
He lauded the various individuals, such as Prof. Maurice Iwu; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde; Dr. Ben Amodu, the Director of Herbal Clinic; Rev. Fr. Anselm Adodo, and the Director for Spiritan Centre for Self-Realization, Okpuno, Rev. Fr. Raymond Arazu, among others, that came up with vaccines which they developed for the treatment of coronavirus symptoms. He said their efforts were part of their contributions to nation building, describing such efforts as patriotic acts.
In his words, ‘It is important we develop and encourage local initiative as it is the only way we can develop as a nation and reduce over dependence on other countries of the world. The outbreak of coronavirus has made some of our people to develop vaccines which they believe will help in the treatment of the symptoms.
‘It is now left for relevant health agencies and their sister agencies to source for these vaccines and examine them critically to ensure they were danger free to health. The vaccines can now be experimented upon and applied in the management of COVID-19 symptoms among carriers of the virus. This is the only way the veracity of the vaccines developers’ claims can be verified,’ he stated.
The Catholic Prelate urged the Federal Government to see the developments in the global pandemic as an opportunity to further look inwards, especially in the areas of supporting local pharmaceutical industries and herbal homes, saying that herbal drugs had proven to be effective in the management of some health issues.
According to him, Nigeria had several pharmaceutical industries that required government’s funding, both for research in new drugs and the growth of the sector in general.
Bishop Okoye emphasized the need for Nigeria to try out various possibilities at their disposal, noting that it was only through such trials that confirmation could be ascertained. He maintained that the solution which the world sought for, concerning the cure for coronavirus might emerge from Nigeria if local initiatives were adopted and developed.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ordering Madagascar’s COVID-19 organic drugs to be used in the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms and described the move as a welcome development.
‘When there is a problem that involves human lives, you don’t mind where the solution comes from because all countries of the world are seeking a solution to the problem, the same way as Nigeria. NAFDAC should look at the content of the herbal drug to ensure it is not injurious to health,’ Bishop Okoye stated.
He said what was happening in the world had never happened before, describing COVID-19 as an emergency which needed to be taken care of urgently to save lives.