A legal practitioner, Jubril Mohammed, has described the Federal Government’s directive that all its employees should take the COVID-19 vaccination as constitutional.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government had imposed a December 1 deadline on its workers to get the COVID-19 vaccination or be refused entry into their offices.
Reacting to the Federal Government’s prohibition of workers without evidence of COVID-19 vaccination from the workplace, Mohammed said that the Nigerian constitution provided exceptional circumstances where citizens’ rights could be voided.
The lawyer told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Tuesday that the government had the constitutional power to restrict free movement or deny people their freedom or right of the assembly during a pandemic.
“It is the constitutional right of government to halt free movement, especially if there is any form of contagious disease or epidemic until a solution is found.
“In this instance, the Federal Government is qualified to give the directive to its workers, since the intention is to curb the spread of COVID-19, especially as there is a new variant now.
“The most appropriate thing for any good government to do is to enforce and encourage people, especially civil servants, to get vaccinated.
“I am aware that there are designated centres where people can go for the vaccine, but I am surprised that the response is slow,” Mohammed said.
However, a human rights lawyer, Richard Olakulehin, said that government should have provided adequate quantities of the vaccines at the different centres before giving the directive.
According to him, the process of administering the COVID-19 vaccines is slow as there are very few available vaccines to serve millions of Nigerians.
Nevertheless, Olakulehin argued that many workers might have genuine reasons, such as health and religion, why they wouldn’t want to be vaccinated.
“I think that government should have set up temporary vaccination centres at various ministries and agencies to quicken the process.
“If you go to primary healthcare centres, most of the facilities needed are not available and sometimes, they don’t have enough vaccines to go round.
“I feel that government should only compel workers to show certificates of vaccine taken when they had provided enough vaccines for the people,” Olakulehin said.
A similar order by the Edo Government prompted one Charles Osaretin to institute a suit against the state government in August.
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