The Edo State government has threatened to impose another lockdown if residents of the State fail to follow the directives for Covid-19 vaccination and compliance with the non-Pharmaceutical Intervention (NPIs) in order to halt the spread of the ravaging Delta variant of virus in the State.
Governor Godwin Obaseki who issued the threat at a media briefing on Wednesday in Benin City, denied knowledge of a court order by a High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Monday, directing the Government to maintain the status quo on the purported compulsory vaccination of its Citizens with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Recall that one Charles Osaretin through his Counsel, Echezona Etiaba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had filed a suit marked FHC/PH/FHR/266/2021 against governor Godwin Obaseki and five others in response to the Government threat to enforce restriction of unvaccinated persons in crowded areas in the State.
But the Governor disclosed that 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.
He maintained that residents of the State would be required to show their vaccination cards as proof of Covid-19 vaccination, reiterated that anyone without vaccination card or fail to show proof of vaccination will not be granted access to crowded facilities including Banks, event Centres, political or business, worship Centres across the State
Obaseki also clarified that the scheduled date for the commencement of the enforcement of the directive by the state government in the vaccination drive protecting residents of the State is the second week of September, 2021: Even as he commended religious and traditional rulers as well as Banks for providing vaccination posts for people.
“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.
According to him, “It must be stated that there is an obvious misconception that the directive issued by 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.
“We believe government’s overriding concern is the safety and health of its Citizens.
“We are currently confronted with a situation wherein the Case Positivity Rate (CPR) for COVID-19 hovers between 15 and 25 percent as deaths are consistently being recorded daily from COVID-19, with unvaccinated persons accounting for 100 percent of deaths in the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the State”, he said.
Meanwhile, the State government has confirmed the death of another septuagenarian who was not inoculated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, raising the total deaths recorded in the third wave of the pandemic in the state to 13.
The State COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr. Andrew Obi, disclosed this after the daily virtual meeting of the State COVID-19 Taskforce, chaired by the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki.
The Incident Manager noted that the government has intensified the vaccination of citizens across all Edo communities, adding that over 28, 000 persons have been so far vaccinated since the commencement of the second phase vaccination exercise.
Obi further stated that all 13 deaths recorded in the third wave of the virus are of unvaccinated persons, reiterating the need for all residents to get inoculated with the vaccines in order to remain alive and healthy.
According to him, “Edo State, in the last 24 hours, recorded one more COVID-19-related death, bringing the total number of deaths recorded in the third wave of the pandemic to 13.
“We also confirmed 60 new cases from the 271 samples collected within the 24-hour timeframe, with a case positivity rate of 22.1 percent. We also recorded nine recoveries, with 364 active cases that are being managed at various treatment and isolation centres within the State”, he said.