CSOs protest Obaseki’s ‘compulsory COVID-19 vaccination’ in Benin

CSOs protesting against Governor Obaseki no covid-19, no public gathering order in Benin on Monday

By Jethro Ibileke/Benin
Hundreds of members of civil society groups in Benin city defied heavy downpour on Monday as they took to the streets in protest against the recently announced ‘no-COVID-19, no-public gathering attendance’ order of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
The protesters under the aegis of Equity Initiatives, marched through various streets in Benin and were also at the Benin branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) and Edo State Government House to show their disapproval of the order.
Recall that Governor Obaseki had at a briefing last week said people who have not taken COVID-19 vaccination will no longer be allowed to attend large gatherings and public places like churches, mosques, banks, wedding or burial receptions, among others.
He stated that such gathering would no longer be accessed without presenting the vaccine certificate from the second week of September.
The Governor further stated in the briefing that the third wave of COVID-19, is causing devastating effects across the country, hence the need to introduce stiffer measures to reduce the effect.
Armed with placards with various inscriptions like: ‘Obaseki can’t force us to take COVID-19 vaccines’, ‘I have right to mosque’ ‘We have right to decide; amongst others, the peaceful protesters said the government’s order is tantamount to trampling on the fundamental rights of the citizens.
They asked the Governor to face infrastructural decay and insecurity in the State.
Chris Iyama who spoke for the groups, said, “We are here to express our displeasure over government move to force Edo people to take COVID-19 vaccines. This is against our fundamental human rights.
“You cannot force someone to eat what he or she doesn’t want. Are we in Banana Republic. We own the state not the government.”
Also speaking, the Interim State chairman, Edo Civil Society Organizations, Bishop Osadolor Anthony Ochei, said citizens of the State have the right to decide whether to be vaccinated or not.
According to him, “If the government have failed, we cannot fail ourselves. Government have the right to make policies, but this policy is not law.”