A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has restrained the Edo State Government from mandating residents to compulsorily get Covid-19 vaccine and from denying those yet to receive the jab access to public places as well as large gatherings across the state.
The court further ruled that all parties including the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, should maintain the status quo pending commencement of hearing on the case filed before it which challenges the government’s planned enforcement next month.
In the ruling delivered by the court on Tuesday, Justice Stephen Dalyop Pam, who granted the request of the applicant, adjourned the suit till September 10, 2021 for a hearing of the substantive motion.
The suit ruled upon by the judge was brought before the court by one Charles Osaretin against the state government and the governor for concluding plans to make vaccination compulsory for all residents.
In the suit marked FHC/PH/FHR/266/2021 against the governor and five others, the applicant through his counsel, Echezona Etiaba, asked 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, and for the leave of court to serve the respondents by publishing the court’s processes in a national daily newspaper.
The governor, who launched the second phase of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination exercise last week, had said those who cannot show proof of taking at least one dose of the COVID vaccine may not be allowed to worship in mosques and churches, banks, events centers and other public places from mid-September.
“From the second week of September, people may not be allowed to worship in churches and mosques without showing proof of their vaccination cards at the gates. Similarly, people will not be allowed to event centres, receptions or parties, without showing proof of their vaccination cards,” the governor had said.
“People will not be allowed to access banking services from the middle of September 2021, if they are not vaccinated.”