Students and members of civil society organizations have occupied major roads in Edo State to protest the directive of the state government on compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for civil servants.
The protesters who took to the streets of Benin on Monday morning grounded vehicular movement bearing placards with 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 Monday’s protest was just a warning.
Addressing a press conference 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 policy in the state.
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.”
Ogbebor advised the state government to focus on infrastructural development rather than enforcing COVID-19 vaccination.
On his part, 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.