Earlier today, some students and members of civil society organizations took to the streets of Edo state to protest against the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy. The policy was put in place by the state Governor Godwin Obaseki’s administration to curb the spread of the pandemic in the state.
Earlier this month, a Federal High Court in Port-Harcourt ordered Edo state not to implement their “no vaccination card, no entry into all state Government owned facilities” policy. However, the Government had stated that it would go ahead with enforcing the policy to combat the virus spread in the state. In response, some protesters have taken to the street to express their grievances.
The protesters carried placards which had different inscriptions on them. SOme of them included “Hunger is killing us, not COVID-19,” “We need security in Edo, not vaccines,” and “Obaseki, obey court order. The protesters also carried placards, asking the Government to share the COVID-19 palliatives with them.
The protesters stated that their protest was just a warning and threatened to shut down Government houses, agencies, and other corporate organizations which were enforcing the mandatory vaccination policy.
Curtis Ogebor, the secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State Council, the coordinator of the Freedom Ambassador Organisation, spoke at the protest. He stated that the protestors were expressing their displeasure over the mandatory vaccination policy. He also noted that pressing issues such as security should be the Governor’s priority and not the COVID-19 vaccination.
“We have come out today to send a warning and an advice for him to urgently withdraw that enforcement order. If he refuses to withdraw that order in 48 hours, we will mobilise to shut down the economy of the state. We cannot fold our arms and watch the act of illegality happen in our state.” He stated.
He also mentioned that no street lights were working in Edo state and the Benin-Auchi road was not safe to travel on due to attacks by bandits and herdsmen. He urged the Government to focus on securing the lives and properties of its citizens instead of focusing on Coronavirus.
Nigeria currently has a reported 202,704 cases of COVID-19 with 2,664 deaths. About 4,024,704 Nigerians have received one dose of the vaccine while 1,687,315 have been fully vaccinated. The Nigerian Government sought to vaccinate 40% of its 206 million people by the end of the year. The remaining 60% would receive their vaccination by the end of 2022. With a little over three months left in the year, the country is not close to achieving its goal.
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