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COVID-19 Vaccination: Obaseki Reacts To Court’s Restraining Order, Threatens Lockdown

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Governor Godwin Obaseki

…Says EDSG Will Act To Protect Its People

By Daniel Dafe

Edo State Government has reacted to an order by a High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, restraining the Government from enforcing the COVID-19 vaccination of residents in the state.

A statement signed by Governor.Godwin Obaseki on Monday, 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.”

The governor continued: “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.

“We believe government’s overriding concern is the safety and health of its citizens.

“We are currently confronted with a situation wherein the Case Positivity Rate (CPR) for COVID-19 hovers between 15 and 25 percent as deaths are consistently being recorded daily from COVID-19, with unvaccinated persons accounting for 100 percent of deaths in the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.”

According to the statement, “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.”

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He noted that “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.”

Obaseki added that “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 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.

While appreciating all leaders in various spheres within the state for their support so far for the vaccination exercise which he said has resulted in unprecedented uptake of the vaccines by Edo people, he warned that
consequent on the rapid rise in infections and death from COVID-19, “government may be forced to implement a lockdown if there is a failure to follow the directives for vaccination and compliance with the Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention (NPIs) in order to halt the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 which is currently raging within the state.”

Furthermore, he said that directives on vaccination stands, adding that 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.

Adding that anyone without this proof will not be granted access to crowded facilities.

Meanwhile, he disclosed that the “government is commencing intensive enforcement of use of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) to curb the current spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths.”

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These measures he said include compulsory wearing of facemasks, regular washing of hands under running water and/or use of hand sanitisers, and maintenance of recommended social and physical distancing in public places, among others.

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