By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
Kogi athletes will not be allowed to participate in the National Sports Festival in Edo State, starting 2 April, because they are yet to be inoculated against COVID-19.
Kogi State is the only one that declined to collect the AstraZeneca vaccine because Governor Yahaya Bello believes the virus and the disease it causes are hoaxes.
Edo State Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu, who is the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the sports festival, said athletes must take COVID-19 vaccine before coming for the event.
“All athletes/officials are to take COVID-19 vaccines at least 12 days before arrival for the tournament,” Shaibu said.
However, like Governor Bello, Kogi State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Idris Musa, said he wouldn’t take the vaccine.
He also said the state won’t make provisions for athletes to take the vaccine.
He said he would step aside from participating in the sports festival if he was not allowed in
“I think the Edo State Government or the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development will agree with us that we are going to do our test to get a certificate that all of us are okay, but in terms of the vaccine, there is nothing I can say now because the Federal Government and the state are still in dialogue.
“Up till now, the vaccines are not even enough for some states that have agreed to take them, so, our case should not be a yardstick,” Musa said.
“If they say I can’t participate because I haven’t taken the vaccine, then I have to step down, I will not take it.
“We are not encouraging anybody to take it, it is an individual opinion.
The Federal Ministry of youths and sport has made vaccination compulsory for athletes to be admitted into the festival.