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COVID-19: Drama as BUA and CACOVID clash over purchase of vaccines

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On Monday, February 9, the BUA Group announced that it had purchased one million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for Nigerians.

The vaccines were expected to be delivered to the country next week and administered to Nigerians at no cost.

But hours after the announcement, the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) disowned participation in the purchase of the vaccine, claiming that no individual or company can purchase vaccines directly from any legitimate and recognised manufacturer.

” CACOVID would like the Nigerian public to understand that vaccine purchase is only possible through the Federal Government of Nigeria, and that no individual or company can purchase vaccines directly from any legitimate and recognized manufacturer,” it said.

Reacting to the CACOVID team through a statement titled “BUA replies CACOVID: Don’t play politics with Nigerian lives ” on Tuesday, BUA said it is shocked by the statement of the CACOVID.

The statement alleged that a prominent member of the CACOVID team is unhappy that BUA singlehandedly purchased the vaccines that will save lives of Nigerians.

It said that the CACOVID team which BUA is part of were informed by the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele that they had been given the opportunity to pay for one million COVID-19 vaccines doses through the AFREXIM vaccine platform providing the payment was made on Monday or Tuesday.

“After extensive deliberations, there was no agreement reached despite members being offered the opportunity to donate funds towards procuring the doses at the agreed rate of US$3.45 per dose, totalling US$3,430,000,000, which translates to N1.31 billion.

“The Chairman of BUA also requested through the CBN Governor that the naira equivalent be paid to the relevant account with CBN, and that CBN forward the dollar payment to Afrexim on CACOVID’s behalf. This payment was made immediately after the meeting and BUA transferred the money to the CBN in order to meet the deadline.

“However, with this development by CACOVID Operations Committee, we now have just cause to believe that some members of CACOVID are not happy that BUA took this initiative in the interest of Nigeria and to ensure that the deadline was met to receive the one million doses of the vaccines next week.

“It is time for us to come together to help Nigerians and it does not matter who is helping or paying. We stand ready to keep supporting and despite this petty action, we have decided to let the money remain in the CACOVID Account with the CBN pending when they are ready to utilise the funds for Nigerians to access the vaccines.”

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