Rivers court restrains Governor Obaseki from enforcing compulsory COVID-19 vaccination in Edo

A Federal High Court in Port Harcourt has granted an order restraining Edo Governor Godwin Obaseki and Edo government from enforcing a directive that all residents who have not taken COVID-19 vaccines will be prevented from accessing churches, mosques, banks, event centres and other public places from the middle of September.

ALSO READ: Hundreds protest in Edo over Obaseki’s Compulsory COVID-19 Vaccination

The federal high court in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital, granted the order on Tuesday.

The governor, who launched the second phase of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination exercise last week, had said those who cannot show proof of taking at least one dose of the COVID vaccine may not be allowed to worship in mosques and churches, banks, event centres and other public places from mid September.

“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,” the governor had said.

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

Members of the civil society organisations (CSOs) in Edo State defied early morning downpour on Monday to protest against the state government’s directive on compulsory COVID-19 vaccination.

Obaseki had stated that the third wave of COVID-19 was causing devastating effects across the country, hence the need to introduce stiffer measures to curtail the effect.

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

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.

By Joshua WWilliams

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