Barrage of condemnations have trailed Tuesday’s statement by Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State that the current outbreak of Type C Cerebrospinal Meningitis in the country was God’s way of punishing Nigerians for their evil deeds, especially fornication.
Yari while speaking to state house correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday, had said that whereas the virus that used to afflict victims was Type A, God chose to inflict Nigerians with the Type C strain which had no vaccination.
Nigerians on Wednesday took to various social media platforms to lampoon Yari for his comments.
Personal assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social media, Lauretta Onochie described Yari’s comments as that of the ignorant and misinformed.
Tweeting on her handle, @laurestar, she said, “Even if he doesn’t or can’t read, he surely should watch TV and be educated on the issue, just like the rest of us who are not medical personnel. I think it becomes a case of the ignorance and the misinformed. And I continue to wonder how such people attained political relevance.”
Similarly, Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, while delivering the keynote speech at Kadfest programme, blasted conservative northern leaders who discourage attitudes and activities that could have developed the region.
Making reference to Yari’s statement, Sanusi said, Yari’s comment was Islamically incorrect, urging states battling with insufficient vaccines to get them.
“Meningitis as punishment for fornication has absolutely no basis in Islam. It is science not religion. Treat meningitis, don’t say God is punishing victims. The statement by Governor of Zamfara on God punishing Nigeria with meningitis is Islamically incorrect. I advise Northern governors to focus on education and girl child education.”
“Some 200 people died from meningitis. A governor actually said it was caused by fornication. We should stop allowing human beings appropriate our religion for selfish reasons,” Sanusi said.
On his twitter handle, @benmurraybruce, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District, expressed dismay at Yari’s assertion, noting that all politicians would be infected by meningitis, if it were sin.
Bruce tweeted thus, “Meningitis is caused by bacteria not sin. If sin caused meningitis, most of us politicians will get it, but it’s the poor who suffer it most. The real sin causing meningitis is the sin of mismanaging the money budgeted to cure and prevent a disease that regularly affects Nigerians.”
Also, a former spokesperson to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri mocked the government, and the APC calling on Nigerians to repent since that is what Yari thinks will stop meningitis.
The Ahmed Makarfi faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in a statement by its spokesperson, Dayo Adeyeye, asked the Zamfara state governor not to blame God for his failures, but that of his party, the APC, to avoid incurring God’s anger on their “crass ineptitude in governance”.
The statement further read,“This government wasted so much funds on the State House Clinic with no tangible result but neglected other health centres and clinics across the country that have capacities to manage the health challenges of other Nigerians.”
“As of Tuesday, April 4, 2017, about 336 Nigerians have lost their lives due to the outbreak of Type C Cerebrospinal Meningitis and the Federal Ministry of Health has not taken any concrete step to contend with the spread.”
“It is on record that the PDP Government in sixteen years did not allow such mindless display of insensitivity as seen by this APC Administration.”
A senior official with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Denja Yaqub said, “I am still waiting to hear that Mr Yari, the Governor of Zamfara state, was misquoted, otherwise I believe he is just one example of how hollow, irresponsible, anti-people and indeed, Anti-God some of our public office holders are.
“Rather than assemble medical experts to clear off meningitis C, it’s still baffling that the chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum claims God is punishing Nigerians by unleashing Meningitis C. “Kai, Yari should have been answering queries from his state House of Assembly by now, if the parliament is not filled by his likes; haters of humanity,” Yaqub said.