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CACOVID, BUA lock horns over COVID-19 vaccine

The Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) is at loggerheads with one of its members, BUA group, over the latter’s claim that it bought one million doses…

The Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) is at loggerheads with one of its members, BUA group, over the latter’s claim that it bought one million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for Nigeria.

BUA had on Monday said it purchased one million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
through the AfreximBank vaccine programme in partnership with CACOVID.

But CACOVID had dismissed BUA’s claim, maintaining that only the federal government could buy the vaccine.

The group had also denied the said partnership with BUA and AfreximBank.

“CACOVID is dismayed to learn of reports on social media today alleging that BUA is singlehandedly purchasing one million COVID-19 vaccine doses for Nigeria,” CACOVID, which is a private sector initiative in the fight against COVID, had said.

“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.”

Buttressing its point, CACOVID said it only held its weekly meeting on Sunday during which Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, told the group a call he held with Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, with Afreximbank President, Benedict Oramah.

It added: “President Oramah briefed the three CACOVID leaders on the $2bn facility the bank has set up with the African Union Vaccine taskforce to purchase vaccines for the African Continent.

“The allocation for Nigeria has been capped at 42 million doses. President Oramah explained that one million doses were ready for shipment to Nigeria in the next two weeks if a down payment was made by today, February 8th.”

Reacting to COCAVID’s response, however, BUA said members of the group expressed their willingness to donate for purchase of the doses but no agreement was taken during the meeting.

BUA said as a result, it took it upon itself to pay for one million doses of the vaccine.

It said: “BUA then took it upon itself to offer to pay for the one million doses at the agreed rate of $3.45 per dose totalling $3.45m which translates to N1.311bn.

“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.”

According to the company, the payment was made immediately after the meeting and transferred the money to the CBN in order to meet the deadline.

It added: “Some members of CACOVID were 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 vaccine next week.

“BUA did this gesture in good faith as it has done with its interventions throughout the pandemic.”

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