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Governor Godwin Obaseki has said that his administration would challenge the injunction of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt stopping him from going ahead with the restriction of people without vaccination from accessing public places starting second week of September.
It would be recalled that the court in Port Harcourt gave an interim injunction restraining Obaseki and the Edo state government from going ahead with any compulsory vaccination and restriction of people without evidence of vaccination from entering public places.
In a statement issued Wednesday by Obaseki, he also lampooned the people who took the government to court even as he insisted that the essence of the position was for the good of the people adding that there already exists a law in the state that restricts public gatherings.
The statement 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.
“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 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.”
He said available statistics in the state showed that all those currently dying of COVID-19 were those who have not been vaccinated.
“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.
“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.
“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 the 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.”
The statement further appreciated all that have supported his administration in the vaccination exercise.
“We thank the churches, mosques, hotels, banks, event centres, restaurants and bars, among others, that have volunteered their premises for use as vaccination posts.
“We want to reiterate that our directives on vaccination stands and so 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, as anyone without this proof will not be granted access to crowded facilities.
“We also want to stress 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.
“These measures include compulsory wearing of face masks, 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.
“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.”