…Obaseki to challenge court order
…Says litigants on ‘litigation tourism‘
…Veterinary doctors rue exclusion from fight
By Gabriel Enogholease & Ozioruva Aliu
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has urged Edo State government to rescind its decision to bar those who are yet to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots from public places.
This came as Governor Godwin Obaseki said his administration would challenge the injunction of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, stopping him from going ahead with the restriction of people without vaccination from accessing public places from the second week of September.
Also, Nigeria Veterinary Medical Association, NVMA, said that despite its areas of specialisation in dealing with animals, it has been excluded from efforts and collaborations in fighting the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and has, therefore, appealed for inclusion in finding solutions to the scourge.
The state had warned that from September 15, 2021, those yet to be vaccinated would not be allowed into public places such as banks and worship centres.
CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, in a statement, yesterday, said: “CAN urges the government of Edo State to rescind its plan to bar people, who could not show the evidence of vaccination from entering the church, mosques and public event centres beginning from this month of September.
“While we fully support vaccination, we equally recognise that vaccination depends on individual choice. In view of the foregoing, coercing people into getting vaccinated is a violation of the fundamental right of each individual.
“Let the government and all of us be emphasising the observance of COVID-19 protocols all the time. The vaccines available now in the country through the Federal Government are far below the population of Nigerians that need the vaccine.
“We call for improved sustainable public enlightenment, synergy and strategy in the management of the situation. Let wisdom and sound judgment prevail. May the Lord wipe away the infection from Nigeria quickly and from all over the globe in Jesus’ name.”
Obaseki to challenge court order on compulsory vaccination
Obaseki, in a statement, yesterday, said: “To the best of our knowledge, the order is at best speculative and pre-emptive as the scheduled date for the commencement of the enforcement of the directive by the state government is the second week of September 2021.
“It must be stated that there is an obvious misconception that the directive issued by government was to make vaccination compulsory for all citizens.
“Although the state governor, in truth, has the power to make such an order under the Gazetted Quarantine Regulations, this directive is actually only a denial of access to public places of persons who chose not to be vaccinated.
“Government, therefore, finds it strange that some persons in purported pursuit of their fundamental human rights would embark on litigation tourism outside of our state, seek to become a source of public health danger and put at risk the safety and health of the larger population.
“Government owes a sacred duty to the populace to take all actions necessary to protect the health of the majority of the citizens and in this connection, an even greater quantity of vaccines is being secured for the use of the people of Edo State.
“The Edo State government has, therefore, instructed its lawyers to vigorously pursue and challenge all such orders in the courts from where they emanate and if necessary, at the appellate level, while affirming its position as a law-abiding government.
“It must be made clear that the government shall continue to pursue all legal and administrative options available for the protection of the best interest of the good people of Edo State.
“We want to reiterate that our directive on vaccination stands and so people who are planning social, religious, political or business events after the second week of September should ensure that both themselves and their guests are not only vaccinated but possess vaccination cards as proof of vaccination, as anyone without this proof will not be granted access to crowded facilities.”