Nigeria received almost 4 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday, 2nd March, 2021.
The vaccination exercise has since begun as doses have been sent to various states of the federation. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has joined the campaign in support of the vaccination.
The group urged Nigerian Muslims and the rest of the citizens to take the vaccine without any fear in their own interest.
MURIC spoke in support of the vaccine on Saturday, 13th March, 2021 through its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“The whole country is aware of the arrival of about four million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines since Tuesday, 2nd March, 2021.
It is our candid opinion that Nigerians cannot afford to sit on the fence in the face of daunting COVID-19 statistics around the world. 116,874,912 cases have been confirmed globally as at yesterday, Friday, 12th March, 2021. There have also been 2,597,381 COVID-19 related deaths around the world.
“The total of confirmed cases in Nigeria stands at 158,535 with 1,969 deaths and 138,055 recoveries also as at yesterday. Nigeria had 2,878 new confirmed cases this week and that is why we cannot say we are out of the woods. Nigeria needs the vaccine as much as countries that have suffered high death rate from the pandemic. Nonetheless, a large number of citizens are still very skeptical about the efficacy of the vaccine. MURIC’s message of today is directed at this conspiracy theory camp, particularly the Muslim population.
“We reaffirm the position of scholars of Islam especially that of the prolific Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah in his Majmu‘ al-Fataawa (37 volumes). The concensus of Islamic scholars is that vaccination is halaal (permissible). They cited the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) where he said ‘Seek medical treatment’.
“COVID-19 vaccine is designed to give protection to those who take it by making their bodies produce substances known as antibodies whose function is to fight disease. We have seen our leaders (both at the federal and state levels) taking the injection. This is to build confidence in us. We urge Nigerian Muslims and the rest of the citizenry to embrace the vaccine. Let us obey our leaders as enshrined in the Glorious Qur’an (4:59).
“Nigerians should note that many of those who denied COVID-19 later fell victims. John McDaniel, from Ohio, United States, died from COVID-19 on April 23, 2020 after initially claiming the pandemic was overblown (https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/23/842551422/sadly-he-is-not-with-us-family-mourns-a-dad-who-denied-then-died-from-covid-19). Brian Lee Hitchens, a taxi driver in Florida, who believed false claims that coronavirus was a hoax, lost his wife, Erin, to Covid-19 on August 24, 2020 (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53892856?). Influencer Dmitriy Stuzhuk also died of the pandemic after denying its existence (https://news.sky.com/story/influencer-dmitriy-stuzhuk-dies-from-covid-19-after-denying-its-existence-12107174).
“MURIC therefore calls on cynics to have a rethink, face reality and accept the vaccine. We are concerned with the right of every Nigerian to live a healthy life free from any disease. In particular, we believe that Nigerian lives matter as no Nigerian deserves to lose his life to any epidemic when a panacea has been made available.”