Bishops in Nigeria’s Lagos Province Urge “fair, equitable” COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

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Catholic Bishops in Nigeria’s Lagos Ecclesiastical Province are advocating for “fair and equitable” distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the West African nation.

In their collective statement shared with ACI Africa, the Catholic Local Ordinaries of Lagos Archdiocese and the Dioceses of Abeokuta and Ijebu-Ode “urge that the distribution of the vaccines be done in a fair and equitable manner that ensures that they get to all those who need them when they need them, regardless of their social or economic status.”

“We applaud the discovery and production of vaccines to protect people from getting infected by the virus and getting seriously sick,” the Catholic Bishops say in their communiqué issued Friday, January 29. 

Nigeria is set to receive 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine early February, according to officials who have reported about the country’s preparedness to ship in the vaccine.

In the light of this shipment, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria’s Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province asked that medical experts in the country be allowed to subject COVID-19 vaccines to independent tests to allay fears among the public about the safety of the coronavirus jab.


“We strongly recommend that the authorities not allow anyone to use the COVID-19 pandemic for selfish gains or interests,” the Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Province comprising Ibadan Archdiocese and Ilorin, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and Osogbo Dioceses stated following their two-meeting that concluded January 26.

They went on to “plead that our medical experts be allowed to subject to appropriate test, the COVID-19 vaccines coming into Nigeria in order to secure the confidence of Nigerians so that they may willingly submit to the medication.”

The Bishops in the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos make known their deliberations on the situation of COVID-19 pandemic in Africa’s most populous nation and across the globe in their January 29 communiqué.

“Our country Nigeria and indeed the entire world have continued to experience an unrelenting rise in the number of people dying or being hospitalized with serious sickness as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” the Nigerian Bishops observe.  

They add, “More than one year after the first cases were reported, the virus shows no sign of going away to allow people return to their normal ways of life.”

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“We urge the populace to take the pandemic seriously, and not scoff at it as a hoax,” the Church leaders further say and continue in reference to the people of God in Nigeria, “They should abide strictly by all the safety measures put in place by the authorities to prevent themselves and those around them from getting infected with COVID-19 and getting seriously sick from it.”

They go on to urge Nigerians to “take proactive measures to boost their personal immunity against the virus.  At the same time, they should have recourse to the almighty and merciful God in prayer to bring a speedy end to the coronavirus pandemic in our world.”

“We commend the Clergy, Religious and the Lay faithful for remaining steadfast in the faith in spite of the long period of lockdown and other challenges they had to contend with last year,” the Bishops say in their communiqué shared with ACI Africa.

During their two-day meeting, the Bishops in Lagos Ecclesiastical Province also reflected about security in their country.

In their collective statement, the Bishops “note with delight that the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, finally found it fit to effect a replacement of the Service Chiefs of the Nigerian armed forces, in response to the persistent clamour of Nigerians from various walks of life.”


“It is our sincere hope and ardent prayer that the new service chiefs, like the proverbial new broom, will bring new vigour and vision into the war against insecurity that currently bedevils every nook and cranny of our nation,” the Bishops say in the communiqué signed by Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Lagos Archdiocese.

The news service chiefs, the Bishops say, should see fighting against insecurity “as the reason for their appointment, and prosecute it with all the necessary human and material resources to bring a speedy end to the insecurity in our land.”

“We implore all our state Governors to rise to their primary responsibility of ensuring the security of life and property of all the inhabitants of the states that they govern,” they say and continue in reference to Nigeria’s State Governors, “They should not go to sleep, while terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other hoodlums are having a field day terrorizing and brutalizing the innocent citizens within their domains.” 

The Bishops appeal to citizens across the length and breadth of Nigeria to exercise maximum vigilance as they go about their daily tasks and routines saying, “They should stay awake and alert to suspicious movements by any elements within their communities, and make prompt reports to the authorities for appropriate and timely action to be taken to nip any threat to life and/or property in the bud.”

“As the saying goes, if you see something, say something, Don’t keep quiet,” the Bishops in Nigeria’s Lagos Ecclesiastical Province emphasize in their January 29 collective statement shared with ACI Africa.

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They go on to commend the recent meetings held between Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and Governors of the South West in view of building peace among the people. 

The Bishops encourage “more dialogues amongst the various ethnic groups as a way of living in peace and unity with the hope that such meetings would actually result in mutual respect and the security of lives and properties.”

“We expect that the criminals who commit the crimes of murder, rape, kidnaping for ransom and destruction of farmlands as well as their sponsors would be fished out and brought to book without any further delay,” the Bishops say.

Reflecting on the Year of St. Joseph, the Catholic Bishops urge the people of God under their pastoral care to “participate actively in all the programs and activities that are being organized in our respective Dioceses to honor the foster father of our Savior Jesus Christ and most chaste spouse of his Immaculate Virgin Mother Mary.”

“We pray that Year 2021 will usher in a new vista of hope for humanity as she grapples with ways of containing the pandemic and its effects,” the Bishops say in their January 29 communiqué.

“May our Blessed Lady, Mother of the Church and Queen of Nigeria, pray for our country Nigeria and the entire human race at the divine throne of mercy, as we navigate one of the most trying times that our world has known in recent history,” they implore.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.