By Cecilia Ologunagba
The Consulate-General of Nigeria in New York has embarked on a vaccination programme to vaccinate Nigerians within its jurisdiction against COVID-19.
The Consul-General, Lot Egopija, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday that the aim was to keep Nigerians within its jurisdiction safe from COVID-19.
“The vaccination programme is one of our reach out programmes to our nationals and to make sure that our nationals are safe.
“We are going to ensure that Nigerians within the New York City who have not been vaccinated are reached and encouraged to avail themselves of the programme.
“Also, we will continue to sensitise our nationals on the need to be vaccinated because COVID-19 is real,” he said.
The Nigerian envoy explained that COVID-19 was real, warning people who did not believe in COVID-19 against living in denial.
Egopija said the consulate held a memorial event for Nigerians who died of COVID-19 because “it is community responsibility”.
According to him, the consulate may not be able to disclose the names of the Nigerian victims to avoid stigmatisation.
“We did a plaque for everyone to commemorate it (remembrance ceremony); we wanted to do for everyone since we didn’t get full disclosure we decided to do one plaque.
“We are in a society that celebrate and also commemorate when we lose our loved one,’’ he said.
Egopija said the host country was gradually returning to the pre-COVID-19 days and the consulate decided to identify with Nigerians who lost their loved ones to the pandemic.
“We have gone through one year of the pandemic and now that New York is opening up, meaning 70 per cent has been vaccinated,’’ he said.
The envoy said the consulate would partner with the New York City authorities for the vaccination programme for interested Nigerians.
“They have also offered to provide free services to various Nigerian communities on mutually agreed days,’’ he said.
He encouraged Nigerians to continue to pursue their aspirations after the pandemic experience, saying “life continues after the pandemic.’’
NAN recalls that the memorial event at Nigeria House on Saturday drew Nigerians from all walks of life, including UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, envoys, community leaders, as well as families, friends and associates of the victims.(NAN)