Arguing the motions for the order in a suit marked FHC/PH/FHR/266/2021 filed by Charles Osaretin, against the Governor and five others, the applicant’s counsel, Echezona Etiaba, (SAN) leading.
A Federal High Court in Rivers State has granted an order restraining Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and Edo government from enforcing a directive that all residents who have not taken COVID-19 vaccines will be prevented from accessing churches, mosques, banks, event centres and other public places from the middle of September.
R. C. Keneboth and F. E. Obiosio, urged the court to order parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice, for the enforcement of the applicant’s fundamental human rights.
By Wale Igbintade, Segun James, Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City and Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt.
The applicant also prayed for leave of court to serve the respondents by publishing the court’s processes in a national daily newspaper circulating in Nigeria.
Justice Stephen Dalyop Pam granted the orders as prayed.
The court subsequently adjourned till September 10 for a hearing of the substantive motion.
Obaseki had ordered that from the second week of September 2021, large gatherings will only be accessed by those who have at least taken one dose/jab of the vaccine.
“From the second week of September 2021, people will not be allowed into worship centres (churches and mosques), event centres, and receptions without showing proof of the vaccination cards.
“From the middle of September 2021, you can no longer access the banking services, if you have not been vaccinated”.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian COVID Response Alliance (NCRA), a coalition of over 70 medical, scientific and faith based Civil Society Organisations has told Obaseki that has no powers under the law to disallow Edo people from entering churches and mosques without proof of vaccination against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NCRA said it considered the governor’s statement “exceedingly outrageous, insensitive, and excessive response to the COVID 19 situation both in Edo state and in Nigeria.”
The group in its statement signed by its Chairman, Rev. Tony Akinyemi, First Vice Chairman, Prof. Joshua Ojo, Second Vice Chairman, Rev. Linda Tokuta, General Secretary, Mr. Osaze Isonare, and Public Relations Officer, Dr. Patrick Ijewere, said that besides the governor’s statement not having basis in law, “Mr. Obaseki does not have enough vaccines for the over three million residents of Edo state if they all were to step out for the vaccine in compliance with this half backed measures. We therefore call on the Governor to immediately retract the statement and rescind the decision.”
According to them, the vaccines that the governor is directing the people to mandatorily receive “are up to this moment all known to be experimental in nature, having been authorised only for emergency use.” They added that in case of adverse effect, all involved, including the manufacturers, donors and medics, have been indemnified from all liabilities arising from application of the vaccine. This they insisted should have raised the curiosity of the government in the first place.
The NCRA said that in was in response to issues such as these that it was formed last year in the heat of efforts to introduce legislations which were clearly overreaching the purported purpose of addressing the COVID 19 pandemic in Nigeria.
It insisted that records of adverse reactions to the vaccines are kept in other climes.
“The official figures are truly frightening. In the US, records from the publicly-accessible Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) show that between December 14 2020 and August 13 2021, there have been 13,068 deaths, 81,050 serious injuries, and over half a million other adverse events associated with the use of COVID vaccines in the United States.
“A whistleblower at the CDC further averred under oath that the System is under-reporting deaths occurring within 3 days of vaccination by a factor of at least 5! Similar frightening reports are available from the UK, Israel, Canada, Europe, etc. The question is where is the figure from Nigeria upon which the blank-carte pronouncement of safety is based?
“It should be noted that the discussion so far has been limited only to acute effects. No one knows for sure at this early stage what the mid- and long-term effects would look like! The biggest issue of all: What is all these really about? This brings us to the real bewildering question in this utterly bizarre matter: Given that all the above facts are incontrovertible and well-known to all, including the proponents of the “vaccine”; why are they nevertheless pushing it so hard and playing blind?
“It is therefore of utmost importance that Nigerians across all ethnic and religious divides arise to oppose this illegal, reckless, and extremely dangerous move announced by Edo governor. We cannot afford to treat this simply as an “Edo State Problem” We can be sure that the globalists behind these moves are only testing the waters with Edo State, and that similar scripts have already been crafted for other governors to spill out in their respective states. The time to firmly resist these dastardly moves is now,” they concluded.
On the other hand, the leadership of the coalition that protested against Edo State Government’s plan to make it compulsory for its civil servants to take COVID-19 vaccines was invited by the Department of State Security (DSS) for questioning shortly after organising a peaceful demonstration.
Addressing a press conference in Benin City yesterday, the Convener of EII, Mr. Chris Iyama, said they were not perturbed by the invitation insisting that their seven-day ultimatum for the government to rescind its decision remained, adding that there is an injunction from the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, which restrained the government from going ahead with its plans.
Iyama said: “We were invited by the DSS after our demonstration on Monday. We told them that having a rally is our right as enshrined in the constitution and to us as Nigerians, it is our right. We told them the ultimatum we have given to the state government stands and after the seven days ultimatum, we are going to mobilise Edo people back to the Government House. But I am sure that with what we have done so far, the governor will have a rethink because we know he is listening and I believe with the court judgment they may not go ahead.
“We told the DSS to tell the governor our position since we have met with him. We came out very calm; we will remain calm even in the face of oppression. We are not cowards. We know how to demand for our rights.”
Also, a Clergy, Bishop Osadolor Ochei, carpeted the state leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for supporting the position of the governor, saying “CAN has no right under its own constitution to align with government to force us as Christians, as ministers to be vaccinated.”
Speaking on the suit instituted in Rivers State, the Lead Counsel to the EII, Mr. John Okhuihievbe, said: “In arguing the motions in Suit No. FHC/PH/FHR/266/2021 filed by Mr. Charles Osaretin against the Governor of Edo State and five others and dated the 30th of August, 2021, the Learned Senior Counsel, Echezona Etiaba (SAN), urged the court to order parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for the enforcement of the applicant’s fundamental rights. The orders were granted as prayed.
The court adjourned to the 10th of September, 2021, for hearing of the substantive motion.”
Meanwhile some civil servants were in a happy mood when the court injunction surfaced in the social media.
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