Compulsory COVID vaccination, if I may repeat it for the umpteenth time, is illegal. Mandatory COVID restrictions are also illegal.
Therefore, Nigeria should lift its COVID mandates and restrictions to alleviate the economic hardship aggravated by the COVID pandemic. It is absurd that instead of removing or easing the COVIC restrictions, the Nigerian government is tightening them. No Nigerian citizen should be deprived of anything or suffer any discrimination due to their refusal/failure to take COVID vaccines.
Under Nigerian law, the federal government has no right to compel or coerce its citizens to get vaccinated or take the COVID-19 PRC test. The rule of law must prevail at all times over the arbitrary and capricious exercise of power or government direction. A guideline that is not supported by law is not a problem and therefore should not be followed. Fortunately, the federal government was taken to court because of this directive. Along the same lines, I have been reliably informed that some Nigerian banks and private companies have fired their employees for not carrying out the COVID-19 vaccination or the PCR test. It is equally illegal and unconstitutional. Dismissed workers and others are advised to go to court immediately.
If countries that had or were experiencing the worst COVID prevalence rate are lifting their COVID restrictions, why is Nigeria, which has managed to manage its lower COVID prevalence rate (as of December 31, 2021, Nigeria had only recorded 214,113 reported COVID cases and 2,977 COVID deaths) is tightening its COVID mandates and restrictions. Last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that from this week COVID mandates rolled out to tackle the latest wave of the COVID pandemic – mandatory wearing of COVID face masks, mandatory COVID vaccination and other protocols COVID – will no longer be enforced in schools, public places like nightclubs in England. In Ireland, almost all COVID restrictions have been lifted.
The Irish government had announced that from 22 January 2022 compulsory vaccination, certificate of recovery to access hospitals, social distancing and restrictions on the number of participants at indoor and outdoor events or activities would no longer apply. . Similarly, all pubs, nightclubs and restaurants can return to normal opening hours (no longer required to close at 8:00 p.m.) in Ireland. Same for Thailand. The Scottish government has lifted restrictions on outdoor gatherings and reopened nightclubs although the mask mandate and vaccination passport requirements are still in place. The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries to lift or ease travel restrictions related to COVID-19, as they have proven to be of little benefit to public health but detrimental to economic growth. The Netherlands, Denmark, South Korea, Australia, Israel, Sweden and other countries have lifted their respective COVID restrictions. In the Netherlands, the wearing of face masks has long been abandoned. Wearing a face mask is no longer mandatory in Israel and Australia.
Over the past two years, the United States Supreme Court has struck down some COVID warrants on the grounds that they violate individual human rights. For example, in Tandon v. Newsom in the United States, the Supreme Court has ruled 5-4 that the 9th Circuit should have preliminary struck down California and Santa Clara County’s COVID-19 rule allowing only three families to gather in homes at the time. Right now, there are more than a dozen cases pending in federal court seeking to overturn President Biden’s term (whose approval rating has plummeted even to the low of 30%) according to which federal employees should be vaccinated compulsorily. Specifically, on January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) law that required approximately 80 million U.S. workers to be compulsorily vaccinated against Covid-19. or be regularly tested or masked and tested weekly for COVID. In fact, most US states have rescinded or relaxed their COVID mandates. Wearing a face mask is no longer mandatory in about 40 states.
Nigeria should take the right steps in the right direction by not forcing its citizens to have compulsory vaccinations or even forcing them to do PCR tests or wear a mask. Of course, the temptation is great to continue enforcing the COVID mandate as it has suddenly become a lucrative business venture. For example, in September 2021, the Federal Government of Nigeria received World Bank Board approval for an allocation of $400 million in additional funding for the procurement and deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country. Nigeria’s COVID-19 Response Program has been expanded to procure affordable COVID-19 vaccines for 18% (40 million) of Nigeria’s population and support effective vaccine deployment for 50% (110 million) of its citizens.
Enough of all this gambling and experimenting with human life to make a quick buck. Agree, COVID-19 or Omicron must be fought but not at the expense of human life. Since there are other effective COVID-19 prevention measures on the market, coupled with the fact that vaccines do not provide ironclad prevention against COVID, the government should allow citizens to make their respective choices and to avail of the many preventative measures out there in the market.
Relying on Denloye v Medical & Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, the Supreme Court of Nigeria held in Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal v Dr. John Emewulu Nicholas Okonkwo (2002) AHRLR 159 that failure to obtaining a patient’s informed consent before administering a blood transfusion to him violated his fundamental human rights to privacy (article 37) and to freedom of religion and conscience (article 38).
The Supreme Court held that the patient’s constitutional right to object to medical treatment or, in particular, as here, to the removal of his tissues, blood or blood products or his organ from his body is based on fundamental rights protected by the 1999 Constitution under the (i) right to privacy: Article 37; (ii) right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion: Article 38. The Court further held that the right to privacy “entails the right to protect one’s conscience of thought or religious beliefs and practices against any coercive and unjustified intrusion; and, his body against unauthorized invasion. The right to freedom of thought, conscience or religion implies the right not to be prevented, without legitimate justification, from choosing the course of one’s life, shaped according to one’s convictions, and the right not to be forced to acting contrary to his religious beliefs…”