Port Harcourt Federal Court stops Obaseki from enforcing compulsory COVID-19 vaccination

Written by on September 1, 2021

The directive issued Friday last week by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State making COVID-19 vaccination compulsory in the state suffered a setback on Tuesday as a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, granted an injunction, restraining the governor and the agents of Edo State government from enforcing the directive.

The restraining order, is a fallout of a suit with reference number: FHC/PH/ FHR/266/202, dated August 30, filed by a Charles Osaretin, against the governor and five others, which sought the order of the court to ask all 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 circulating in Nigeria.

Governor Obaseki, had on Friday, announced that, in a bid to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the state, all residents who had not taken COVID-19 vaccines would be prevented from accessing churches, mosques, banks, event centres and other public places from the middle of September.

Announcing the directive, the governor said that beginning from September 15, all residents of the state, who would want to access the aforementioned places, would be requested to present, at least, the certificate of the first jab of the vaccination. Obaseki added that the state government would push for vaccination to build immunity against COVID-19, stressing that the target was to vaccinate 60 per cent of the population in 2022.

While arguing the motions in the applicant’s lead counsel, Echezona Etiaba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), urged the court to ask all 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, in addition to granting the leave of court to serve the respondents by publishing the court’s processes in a national daily newspaper circulating in Nigeria.

The vacation judge of court, Justice A. T Mohammed, ordered as prayed and subsequently adjourned the matter till September 10 for a hearing of the substantive motion.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 task force in the state has announced the death of seven unvaccinated people in the state. The team lead for the task force, Dr Ebomwonyi Osagie disclosed this on Monday evening in Benin City, while briefing journalists on the activities of the group, added that the state had recorded 228 new cases, assuring that the task force was doing everything possible to stem the spread of the in the state.

“The deaths recorded so far are unvaccinated persons. If they had been vaccinated they may have survived. We have collected 1,1426 samples in this third wave, out of which 228 are positive cases, 19 recovery and seven deaths representing 15. 9 per cent.”

While calling on the residents of the state to follow the COVID-19 protocols, Osagie explained that out of the four treatment centres in the state, namely: Stella Obasanjo Hospital, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Irrua Specialist Hospital and Auchi General Hospital, UBTH is on strike.

The team leader, who decried community transmission of the virus, urged people to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols and appealed to them to make themselves available for vaccination in order not to record avoidable deaths.

 



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