The Department of State Services (DSS) on Tuesday invited the leaders of civil society, Equity International Initiatives, who led a protest against the Edo State Government’s compulsory COVID-19 vaccine directive.
On Monday, some leaders of the group had led a protest and demonstration against Governor Godwin Obaseki’s compulsory COVID-19 vaccination directive, which makes the presentation of vaccination certificates a ticket to access public places.
The convener of EII, Chris Iyama, in a press conference in Benin City, noted that they were not in the least moved by the invitation from the security outfit, insisting that the seven-day ultimatum given to the state government to rescind its decision remained sacrosanct.
“We were invited by the SSS after our demonstration on Monday. We told them that having a rally is our right as enshrined in the constitution and to us as Nigerians, it is our right.
“We told them the ultimatum we have given to the state government stands and after the seven days ultimatum, we are going to mobilise Edo people back to the government house but I am sure that with what we have done so far, the governor will have a rethink because we know he is listening and I believe with the court judgment they may not go ahead,” Iyama said.
“We told the SSS they should tell the governor our position since we have met with him. We came out very calm; we will remain calm even in the face of oppression. We are not cowards, we know how to demand our rights,” he reiterated.
A circular had surfaced late Monday which indicated that the state government through the Head of Service had mandated civil servants across the state to either take the vaccines or stay from office.
A suit was filed by one Charles Osaretin marked FHC/PH/FHR/266/2021 against the governor and five others at a federal high court in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital,
The applicant through his counsel, Echezona Etiaba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (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 who granted the orders as prayed adjourned the suit till September 10 for a hearing of the substantive motion.
Obaseki was restrained from enforcing the compulsory COVID-vaccination directive, restricting unvaccinated persons from attending mass gatherings from September.