By Ibrahim Adeleke
The Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law, Dr. Monday Ubani has sued the Federal Government over the directive that all civil servants must 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.
In the suit filed before the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, Ubani is asking the court to declare that the directive which is not backed by any legislation, constitutes an infringement on the constitutionally protected rights of federal civil servant and their terms of engagement.
Joined in the suit as co-defendants are the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
Recall that the Federal Government had on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, announced that with effect from December 1, 2021, Federal Government employees shall be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours to gain access to their offices in all locations within Nigeria and our Missions.
In the suit challenging the directive, Ubani averred that the pronouncement/directive by the Defendants to the Federal Civil servants to show proof of vaccination or present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result done within 72 hours before they can gain access to their offices is hasty, and not backed by any enabling legislation.
He also contended that the pronouncement/directive if implemented would discriminate against Civil servants and violate the constitutional rights of the Federal Civil servants, particularly their right to life, dignity, privacy, freedom of movement and personal liberty.
Ubani further averred that the directive did not consider or make room for persons with valid health related or other relevant reasons who may want to opt-out of such compulsory vaccination on health ground.
Amongst other reliefs, Ubani is asking the court to declare the directive as 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).
He is also asking the court for a perpetual injunction restraining the SGF from implementing or further the directive given to the Federal Civil Servants.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.