Foremost Civil Rights Advocacy Group: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has backed President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to make it mandatory for all public service workers to take the double jabs of the Covid-19 vaccines.
The Rights group said contrary to the insinuation that compelling citizens to take the Covid-19 vaccines violates their Human Rights, the acceptance of the vaccination against the much dreaded disease of Covid-19 is the surest way to preserve, promote and advance the Right to life which is the primary human rights provision. Section 33 (1) stated thus: (1) Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.
“We commend President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for ensuring that citizens are mobilized and enlightened to take the life saving vaccine against Covid- 19, just as the Rights group observed that the federal government may have failed to use the prospects and possibilities to rebuild Nigeria’s collapsed public healthcare which the Covid-19 Pandemic and the nearly a year lockdown provided.
“Whilst we are happy that the federal government is tasking workers to go for double jabs of Covid-19 Vaccines, we demand from the central government a public disclosure of what the government did with the credit facilities provided by the International Monetary Fund(IMF) to boost public health care industry in Nigeria. The Central government has abysmally failed to even support local production of Covid-19 vaccines just as primary healthcare centres across the country have collapsed.”
HURIWA recalled that the Nigerian government on Thursday declared COVID-19 immunization mandatory for civil employees and set a deadline for anyone who is not fully inoculated to be barred from working.
HURIWA quotes Secretary to the government the federation and chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19, as saying in a statement that workers who do not produce proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus result would be prohibited from government offices beginning December 1.
Only 2.17 million people in the Western African country are fully immunized, implying that only over 1% of the overall population has received double doses of COVID-19 vaccines. So far, the country has administered 7.3 million doses to its people.
COVID-19 has infected 208,404 people so far, according to Worldometer data, with 196,123 persons recovered and 2,761 deaths.
Fears and apprehensions have been expressed by government employees after the new directives, who are now hurrying to get vaccinated before the deadline.
Joseph Micheal, a staff member with the Federal Ministry of Aviation, said, “I’m just vaccinated to avoid having trouble in my working place.” He urged his co-workers who have not yet been vaccinated to quickly register and get vaccinated.
“I have yet to be vaccinated,” said Ngozi Edwar Auta, an employee of the Information Ministry. “I’m afraid of the vaccine, but I have no choice but to get it in order to prevent embarrassment at work,” she added.
She argued, “Health matters are personal and this violates my fundamental rights as a citizen. I have a right to my health, but why is the government forcing us to do something that we are afraid of?”
HURIWA said the refusal by anyone to take the vaccines is tantamount to exposing the lives of millions of Nigerians to danger which it said is avoidable but the Rights group asked the Nigerian government to disseminate to Nigerians information on the exact venues they can go and get the Covid-19 vaccines.