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Abdul Samad Rabiu: A Patriot Or What?

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Abdul Samad

One of the biggest questions making the rounds in Nigeria is why Abdul Samad Rabiu, Chairman of Bua Group could have settled for Oxford-AstraZeneca, a United Kingdom-produced COVID-19 vaccine for Nigerians.

Known to have splashed several millions of Dollars on COVID-19 palliative materials, many had heaved a sigh of relief when Bua Group announced that he had singlehandedly bought a million doses of the vaccine for Nigerians.

Like a little kid receiving his 10 years birthday gift, Nigerians took to social media to thank the businessman for his philanthropy.

This was until the bubble was burst by the private sector-led coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID), and Nigerians realised that they would have been served one of the most questionable vaccines that countries including South Africa have turned down.

Refuting the statement that Rabiu singlehandedly bought the vaccines, CACOVID via a statement said that the agreement was that $100 million would be contributed for the purchase of one million doses to ensure that Nigeria meets up with the February 8 deadline for the down payment on the first tranche.

“CACOVID is dismayed to learn of reports on social media today alleging that BUA is singlehandedly purchasing 1 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for Nigeria. Alhaji Abdulsamad must have been misquoted because these claims are not factual as CACOVID operates on a collegiate fund contribution model. There is no agreement between BUA, CACOVID and Afreximbank,” the statement reads.

Reacting to the development, Rabiu said that the deed was done in good faith. He said: “BUA decided to secure these one million vaccines by paying the full amount for the vaccines today because these vaccines became available only last week through AFREXIM. We expect the vaccines to be delivered within the next 14 days and hope priority will be given to our frontline workers who have committed their lives to managing the pandemic.” He added that in total, BUA would purchase five million doses for Nigeria as soon as they become available through the same arrangement.

What You Should Know About Oxford-AstraZeneca

Oxford-AstraZeneca has been rejected in several countries including South Africa which initially was set to roll it out, but cancelled the plan owing to fear of deaths arising from its usage.

There have also been reports of side effects from the usage of the vaccine including pain and swelling, after a few days of vaccination. This is according to a report from nearly 40,000 people in December.

A trial conducted in South Africans on about 2,000 people proved the vaccine had a low efficacy level against disease considered regular.

As a matter of fact, a study has shown that it hardly offers protection against mild and moderate disease caused by the viral variant first identified in South Africa.

The report of a randomised double-blind study seen by the Financial Times is quoted to have said that: “Both the human trials and tests on the blood of those vaccinated, the jab showed significantly reduced efficacy against the 501Y.V2 viral variant, which is dominant in South Africa.

“A two-dose regimen of [the vaccine] did not show protection against mild-moderate Covid-19 due to [the South African variant]”, the study says, adding that efficacy against severe Covid-19, hospitalizations, and deaths was not yet determined.

What Bua Group Should Have Gotten Nigerians

Asides the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, there are other more effective vaccines that could have been brought to Nigeria by Rabiu and his Bua Group.

Vaccines from companies such as  Johnson & Johnson and Novavax have proven to offered complete protection against severe disease and death in relation to Covid-19 during trial.

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