Saturday, May 2, 2020
Toronto, Canada

here have been recent reports of the planned commencement of COVID-19 vaccine trials in Nigeria by the World Health Organization (WHO). This plan by the world body is without a credible basis, and therefore vexatious and outrageous. It would seem that such a plan may have been a condition tied to the recent WHO funding to Nigeria? It now appears that the recent quick passage of the Infectious Disease Act to a second reading in the country's parliament is part of a plan to give legal backing to the WHO through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in the efforts to conduct forced vaccine trials on Nigerians.

The WHO should be advised to first carry out these trials in China, the US, UK, and other countries in Europe, where there have been extensive recorded cases of this pandemic. For how long shall Nigeria allow itself to be a subject of manipulation by Western imperialist forces? Once they succeed with Nigeria, the rest of Africa becomes "a piece of cake". Other than vaccine trials with questionable objectives, several options remain open to Nigeria now. First, the government should explore more in-depth, the reported successes of Chloroquine (in combination with Zinc and Erythromycin) for treating this condition despite the attempts by global political interest groups to undermine these successes.

These drugs- Chloroquine, Erythromycin, and Zinc- are historically and clinically well-tolerated in Nigerians (and Africans), unlike among Caucasians.

Secondly, the recent approval by the US FDA of the drug Remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19 is a significant milestone in the global efforts to find a cure. Nigeria could keep a keen eye on this development and may start processes to request for this drug.

Thirdly, the government should immediately collaborate with natural medicine practitioners in Nigeria and indigenous pharmaceutical companies, as well as invest heavily in local research for COVID-19 herbal treatment and prevention therapies. It would be wise also to investigate the validity and reliability of existing claims by credible persons and groups purporting to have developed herbal medicines to treat and prevent the condition.

The claims of Professor Maurice Iwu to have developed a drug to treat and cure COVID-19 readily come to mind. It is instructive to note that while Nigeria ignored Professor Iwu, refusing to even subject his formula/drugs to scientific evaluation and tests, the US, along with some other western nations, have indicated interest. The recent statements by the Ooni of Ife on herbal treatments for the condition should also trigger government interest and attention. In the meantime, the government may concurrently collaborate with Madagascar for their COVID-19 herbal treatment solution, while noting that the active ingredients in their treatment solution (e.g., "Dongonyaro") are well-known herbs commonly found in Nigeria. The mindset of many Nigerians, including political actors close to the levers of power that solutions must always come from Western countries (represented by donor agencies such as WHO), and China, is greatly flawed. We must as a people begin to look inwards.

Finally, the Nigerian government is urged to reverse itself on easing the lockdown immediately, and also find credible ways to cushion the effects to all its people. Although a strong argument can be made for balancing economic activities with public health by opening up the country, however, doing so now that the country appears to be recording a steep increase in the number of cases will portend a grave public health disaster.

It is on record that previous vaccine trials in Africa, championed by western agencies violated standard global protocols and processes, and in so doing, foisted death, sickness, and disease in Africa. In Nigeria, such vaccinations resulted in Africa's worst meningitis and polio epidemic, which occurred mostly in northern Nigeria.

The planned vaccination trials are not in Nigeria's interest, and the government is called upon to muster the political will and courage in the interest of Nigerians to reject it, or at least suspend it for now.