CIVIL Society Organisations have condemned the compulsory Covid-19 vaccination policy of the Edo state government.
Some members of the groups in Benin-city, protested against plans by the state government to make it compulsory for residents to take Covid-19 vaccine before accessing large gatherings.
The protesters, who marched through the streets of Benin-city with placards, said the plan by the government was tantamount to trampling on the fundamental rights of the citizens.
The protesters under the aegis of Equity Initiatives, while addressing journalists at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat in Benin-city, asked the governor to address infrastructural decay and insecurity in the state.
The Chairman of the Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Sir Roland Osakue, who was represented by the secretary of the council, Comrade Titus Akhigbe, addressed the protesters at the NUJ premises.
He called on the government to listen to the voice of the people and urged the protesters to go about the action peacefully.
Convener and spokesperson for the groups, Chris Iyama, said, “We are here to express our displeasure over the government move to force Edo people to take Covid-19 vaccine. 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, the interim state chairman, Edo Civil Society, Bishop Osadolor Anthony Ochei, said citizens had the right to decide whether to be vaccinated or not.
“If the state government has failed, we cannot fail ourselves. The government has the right to make policies but this policy is not law,” he said.
The protesters had earlier taken their protest to the state Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the state Government House.
The Governor, Godwin Obaseki, at a briefing last week, had stated that for residents in the state to access large gatherings such as churches, mosques, banks, wedding or burial receptions among others, they must present vaccination certificates from the second week of September.
Obaseki said the third wave of the pandemic had been devastating in parts of the country, hence the need to introduce measures to protect residents.