Nigeria: Covid-19 - Compulsory Vaccination Attracts Protest in Edo

28 September 2021

Major streets of Benin City in Edo State were taken over by members of civil society organisations (CSO)and students to protest against the compulsory COVID-19 vaccination policy of the state government.

With placards bearing various inscriptions, the protesters grounded vehicular movement in the metropolis. Some of the inscriptions on the placards included: 'Hunger is killing us, not COVID-19'; 'We need security in Edo, not vaccine'; 'We will resist any form of executive rascality'; Share COVID-19 palliative' 'Obaseki obey court order'; 'My body is my right'.

The protesters, who said yesterday was just a warning, threatened to completely shut down government houses, government agencies/parastatals, corporate organisations enforcing 'no vaccine, no entry' policies.

Speaking at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State Council, the Coordinator of the Freedom Ambassador Organisation, Curtis Ogbebor, said they were out to express their displeasure over the compulsory vaccination in the state.

According to him, other pressing issues such as security should be the governor's priority and not 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 said.

"There are issues of urgent concern like security which is enshrined in the constitution that the governor is under the law to secure the lives and properties of its citizenry. But as we speak, the governor is not concern about the security and welfare of the people.

"As of now, no street light is working in Edo State; Benin-Auchi Road is not safe to travel on because of bandits, herdsmen and other criminal elements," Ogbebor added.

He urged the state governor to also focus on infrastructural development rather than enforcing COVID-19 vaccination.

Speaking in the same vein, on behalf of students in Edo, National Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Student and Youth Association, Osamudiamen Ogbidi, said students in the state vehemently opposed the forceful COVID-19 vaccination.

The Godwin Obaseki-led administration has made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory, insisting that without vaccination card, you cannot access any government's office or enjoy any government patronage.

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