Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Nigeria’s South-south, has vowed to bar people who are yet to take COVID-19 vaccine from having access to public places in the state, despite a court order against the plan.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the state government had announced plans to make it compulsory for residents to take COVID-19 vaccine and present proof before accessing public places from the second week of September.
A Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, a few days ago, issued a temporary order, restraining Mr Obaseki and the Edo State Government from carrying on with the plan action.
Mr Obaseki, at a news briefing in Benin on Wednesday, however, threatened to impose lockdown in the state, if residents failed to heed his administration’s directive and comply with COVID-19 protocols in order to halt the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
“The attention of (the) Edo Government has been drawn to an order by a High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers, directing the government to maintain the status quo on the purported compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for citizens.
“To the best of our knowledge, the order is, at best, speculative and preemptive, as the scheduled date for the commencement of enforcement of the directive is the second week of September.
“We want to reiterate that our directive on vaccination stands,” Mr Obaseki said.
He urged those planning social, religious, political or business events after the second week of September to ensure that both they and their guests were not only vaccinated but possessed vaccination cards as proof.
“Anyone without this proof will not be granted access to crowded facilities,” he said.
The governor also said the government was commencing intensive enforcement of use of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to curb the current spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths.
“It must be stated that there is an obvious misconception that the directive issued by the government was to make vaccination compulsory for all citizens.
“Although the governor 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,” he said.
The government’s overriding concern, Mr Obaseki said, is the safety and health of the citizens.
He stated that the positivity rate (CPR) for COVID-19 hovered between 15 and 25 per cent, adding that deaths were consistently being recorded daily, with unvaccinated persons accounting for 100 per cent.
Edo has recorded 196 COVID-19-releated deaths so far, the second highest in Nigeria after Lagos State which has recorded 604 deaths, according to the data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.