July 19, 2024

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FG Denies Planning To Embark On Compulsory Vaccination On All Civil Servants

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Peterclaver Egbochue

The Federal Government of Nigeria has denied that it planned to embark on compulsory vaccination of all civil servants in the country before they could have access to their offices with effect from 1st December, 2021.

This was contained in a counter affidavit filed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

The Government further stated that it does not have a compulsory vaccination policy and actual administration of vaccination takes into account relevant peculiarities which include health records/history for people who are to be vaccinated.

Dr Monday OnyekachiUbani had filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Lagos

against  Secretary to the Government of the Federation (sued as 1st Respondent), Attorney General of the Federation (2nd Respondent), and Federal Government of Nigeria (3rd Respondent), challenging the plan of the Federal Government demanding compulsory COVID-19 vaccination on all Civil servants before they could have access to their offices with effect from 1st December, 2021.

See below case summary report

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DENIES PLANNING TO EMBARK ON COMPULSORY VACCINATION ON ALL CIVIL SERVANTS

In a Suit filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, by Dr. Monday OnyekachiUbani in suit No. FHC/L/CS/1951/2021against  Secretary to the Government of the Federation (sued as 1st Respondent), Attorney General of the Federation (2nd Respondent), and Federal Government of Nigeria (3rd Respondent), challenging the plan of the Federal Government demanding compulsory COVID-19 vaccination on all Civil servants before they can have access to their offices with effect from 1st December, 2021, the Plaintiff – Dr. Monday Ubani raised the following questions for the Court to determine:

  1. Whether the directive given by the 1st Respondent to all Federal Civil Servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021 they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad, does not amount to a violate of the Constitutional rights of Nigerian Civil servants to life, dignity and privacy, as well as their right to freedom from discrimination, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as guaranteed by sections 34, 37 and 38 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and Sections 2, 4 and 8 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 1990.
  • Whether the directive given by the 1st Respondent to all Federal Civil Servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021 they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad,is not illegal having not been backed by any legislative enactment.

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  • Whether the directive given by the 1st Respondent to all Civil Servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021 they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad, is not a violation of the contractual terms of employment between Nigerian civil servants and the government.

The Plaintiff – Dr. Ubani is seeking the following Reliefs from the Court:

  1. A DECLARATION that the directive given by the 1st Respondent to all civil servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021 they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad, is unconstitutional, same having violated the constitutional rights of Nigerian civil servants to life, dignity, privacy, freedom from discrimination, freedom of thought, conscience and religion as guaranteed by sections 34, 37 and 38 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
  1. A DECLARATION that the directive given by the 1st Respondent to all Civil Servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021 they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad is illegal having not been backed by any legislative enactment.
  1. A DECLARATION that the directive given by the 1st Respondent to all Civil Servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021 they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad violates the contractual terms of employment between Nigerian civil servants and the government.
  1. AN ORDER of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st Respondent from implementing or further the directive given to the Federal Civil Servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021 they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad.

In a Counter affidavit filed by the 1st Respondent (Secretary to the Government of the Federation), who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (now Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19), the Federal Government denied that it planned to embark on compulsory vaccination on all Civil Servants.This position was stated in paragraph 13 of the counter affidavit as follows: “That the Federal Government did not and does not plan to embark on compulsory vaccination as contemplated throughout the Plaintiff’s affidavit but more specifically  in paragraphs 8,9,10,11 as the Federal Government was deliberate in providing two alternatives for Civil Servants to choose from, to wit, “proof of COVID-19 vaccination” or “present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours”.

The Government further stated that it does not have a compulsory vaccination policy and actual administration of vaccination takes into account relevant peculiarities which include health records/history for people who are to be vaccinated.

The suit which is pending before Hon. Justice I. N. Oweibo of the Federal High Court was adjourned to the 19th day of October, 2022 for hearing.