Tue. Aug 9th, 2022

Covid-19: Ubani Battles FG Over Alleged Compulsory Vaccination Of Civil Servants

Covid-19: Ubani Battles FG Over Alleged Compulsory Vaccination Of Civil Servants

A Frontline Nigeria lawyer and human rights activist, Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani, has instituted a suit before a Lagos Federal High Court, against the Nigerian Government, over alleged plan to compulsory vaccinate civil and puplic servants in the country.

Ubani in the suit numbered FHC/L/CS/1951/2021, which he listed Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SFG); Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) as first to third respondents, is challenging the plan of the Federal Government demanding compulsory COVID-19 vaccination on all Civil servants before they can have access to their offices with effect from December 1, 2021.

the Plaintiff – Dr. Monday Ubani raised the following questions for the Court to determine:

In view of the government stand, the legal luminary is asking the court to determine: “whether the directive given by the SFG to all Federal Civil Servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021, they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad, does not amount to a violate of the Constitutional rights of Nigerian Civil servants to life, dignity and privacy, as well as their right to freedom from discrimination, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as guaranteed by sections 34, 37 and 38 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and Sections 2, 4 and 8 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 1990.

“Whether the directive given by the SFG to all Federal Civil Servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021 they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad, is not illegal having not been backed by any legislative enactment.
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“Whether the directive given by the SFG to all Civil Servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021 they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad, is not a violation of the contractual terms of employment between Nigerian civil servants and the government.

Should in case the above requests are determined in his favour, Dr. Ubani is asking the court for the following Reliefs: “A declaration that the directive given by the 1st Respondent to all civil servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021 they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad, is unconstitutional, same having violated the constitutional rights of Nigerian civil servants to life, dignity, privacy, freedom from discrimination, freedom of thought, conscience and religion as guaranteed by sections 34, 37 and 38 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“A declaration that the directive given by the 1st Respondent to all Civil Servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021 they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad is illegal having not been backed by any legislative enactment.

“A declaration that the directive given by the 1st Respondent to all Civil Servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from 1st of December, 2021 they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad violates the contractual terms of employment between Nigerian civil servants and the government.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st Respondent from implementing or further the directive given to the Federal Civil Servants in Nigeria to the effect that with effect from December 1, 2021, they should show proof of vaccination or present a negative covid-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their various offices within Nigeria and Missions abroad.

However, SFG, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (now Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19), in a Counter affidavit filed before the court, on behalf of the Federal Government, denied that it planned to embark on compulsory vaccination on all Civil Servants.  

AGF in paragraph 13 of the said counter affidavit stated as follows: “That the Federal Government did not and does not plan to embark on compulsory vaccination as contemplated throughout the Plaintiff’s affidavit but more specifically  in paragraphs 8,9,10,11 as the Federal Government was deliberate in providing two alternatives for Civil Servants to choose from, to wit, “proof of COVID-19 vaccination” or “present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours”.

The Government further stated that “it does not have a compulsory vaccination policy and actual administration of vaccination takes into account relevant peculiarities which include health records/history for people who are to be vaccinated.”

Meanwhile, the suit which is currently before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, has adjourned till October 19, 2022 for hearing.