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Court Restrains Obaseki from making COVID-19 Vaccination Compulsory

A federal high court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has granted an order restraining Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki; and the state government from restricting unvaccinated persons from attending mass gatherings from mid-September.

Governor Obaseki had mandated people of the state to take the vaccine; warning that, as of September 15, anyone who has not been vaccinated will not be allowed into public places such as banks and worship centres.

The state had launched the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination exercise last week.

“From the second week of September, people may not be allowed to worship in churches and mosques without showing proof of their vaccination cards at the gates.

“Similarly, people will not be allowed to event centres, receptions or parties without showing proof of their vaccination cards.

“People will not be allowed to access banking services from the middle of September 2021, if they are not vaccinated.,” the government had warned.

However, one Charles Osaretin filed a suit marked FHC/PH/FHR/266/2021 to counter the governor and five others.

The applicant, through his counsel, Echezona Etiaba, SAN, asked the court to order parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice; for the enforcement of the applicant’s fundamental human rights, and for the leave of court to serve the respondents by publishing the court’s processes in a national daily newspaper.

The judge, Stephen Dalyop Pam, granted the orders and adjourned the suit till September 10 for a hearing of the substantive motion.

Civil servants in Edo Ministry of Health were given a seven-day ultimatum to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ultimatum was contained in a memo dated August 30, with reference number: HA.429/1/16 and issued by Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Frederick Irabor.

The memo, obtained by NAN on Monday in Benin, stated that any staff member who failed to get vaccinated within the period would not be allowed into office.

“I am directed to refer to the above subject and to notify all staff (members) of Ministry of Health to get vaccinated against the deadly COVID-19 within the week.

“I am further directed to inform all that from Sept. 6, any staff (member) who has not taken the COVID-19 vaccine will not be allowed into the office premises,” the memo stated.

Edo had recorded three more COVID-19-related deaths, with 92 new confirmed cases, the state COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr Andrew Obi, said on Monday in Benin.

Obi, who disclosed this after the daily virtual meeting of the Edo State COVID-19 Task Force chaired by Governor Obaseki, noted that the total number of fatalities recorded in the state had risen to 11.

He said that all deaths recorded in the third wave of the virus were of unvaccinated persons, reiterating the need for all residents to get inoculated with the vaccines in order to remain alive and healthy.

“Edo, in the last 72 hours, recorded three more COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the total number of deaths recorded in the third wave of the pandemic to 11.

“We also confirmed 92 new cases from the 522 samples collected within the 72-hour timeframe, with 56 recoveries and 254 active cases that are being managed at various treatment and isolation centres within the state.

“It is imperative to note that while 100 per cent of the deaths recorded in the state are unvaccinated persons, 96 per cent of infections in the state are people who were never vaccinated against the deadly virus.

“Of course, this necessitates the need for everyone to get inoculated as the vaccines provide significant protection against the virus,” he said

The manager further stated that the government had intensified the vaccination of persons across all communities in the state, noting that over 19, 579 persons had been inoculated since the commencement of the second phase of the vaccination exercise.

“Edo has now collected a total of 7, 908 samples, vaccinated over 19, 579 persons and recorded 166 recoveries, 431 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a case positivity rate of 17.6 per cent,” he said.

He urged all Edo people to take advantage of the availability of the vaccines to get themselves inoculated.

“We charge all residents, who have been administered with the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, to come out for the second dose to get full protection against the virus, while others who have not been vaccinated are encouraged to come out and get the vaccination.

“The vaccines are safe, free and effective,” he said.