Members of civil society organisations and students on Monday took to major streets in Edo State to protest against the compulsory COVID-19 vaccination policy put in place by the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration.
The protesters, who grounded vehicular movement in the metropolis, carried placards bearing inscriptions as: ‘We need security in Edo, not vaccine’; ‘We will resist any form of executive rascality’; ‘Hunger is killing us, not COVID-19’; ‘Obaseki obey court order’; ‘My body is my right’; ‘Share COVID-19 palliative’.
They also threatened to completely shut down government houses, government agencies/parastatals, corporate organisations enforcing ‘no vaccine, no entry’ policies, stressing that the protest of Monday was just a warning.
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, noting that other pressing issues such as security should be the governor’s priority and not COVID-19 vaccination.
He said, “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.
“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.”
He urged the state governor to also focus on infrastructural development rather than enforcing COVID-19 vaccination.
Also speaking on behalf of students in Edo, National Public Relations Officer, Nigeria Student and Youth Association, Osamudiamen Ogbidi, said students in the state reject the forceful COVID-19 vaccination.
While noting that the protest was just a warning and that students would be mobilised to shut down the state, he said all other youths in the state also reject the compulsory vaccination.