“We support the measures and guidelines applied to contain the pandemic worldwide but it is against the rights and freedoms of citizens to force them to take vaccinations against their will. We thus call upon the ministers of the Federal Minister of Health in Nigeria to reconsider this directive with immediate effect,” the CitizenGo official says.
In their petition published September 11, the officials of CitizenGo appeal to members of the public to urge Nigeria’s Federal Minister of Health to stop coercing the people into vaccination.
The petition dubbed, “Stop forced vaccination in Nigeria”, reads in part, “Dear Federal Minister, I demand you to stop any orders for Nigerians to be vaccinated if they have to obtain essential services which include and are not limited to going to church.”
“As much as we support all government guidelines to contain COVID-19, it is against my conscience to obtain a vaccine when I can choose not to,” CitizenGo officials say in the petition, and conclude with, “Kindly revoke this order as soon as possible.”
The move by various governments to force the COVID-19 vaccination on the people has also been condemned in other African countries including Kenya and Zimbabwe.
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In Kenya, Members of the Kenya Catholic Doctors’ Association (KCDA) have condemned the directive to force people to get the COVID-19 vaccination, terming the move “unethical and in bad taste.”
An earlier directive by the government in Kenya required all civil servants in the East African country to get the first jab of COVID-19 vaccine by August 23, failure to which they would have their salaries and allowances stopped.
In their September 5 statement, the Kenyan medics called for support for those who express their reluctance to get inoculated and those who oppose it altogether.
“We strongly oppose the said directive and opine that it is not only illegal, but unethical and in bad taste. We advocate for voluntary enrolment in the ongoing COVID-19 investigational vaccine trials,” the medics said in the statement that was signed by their chairperson, Dr. Wahome Ngare.
Last month, Christian leaders in Zimbabwe cautioned the government of the Southern African country against reopening places of worship only for vaccinated people.
In their statement, the leaders under the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) described the move to prevent those yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as one that raises “theological and practical challenges.”
“Though welcome by the churches, this staggered opening of Churches on the condition of being vaccinated raises both theological and practical challenges,” members of ZHOCD said.
On August 11, Zimbabwe’s government spokesman, Nick Mangwana, announced the reopening of places of worship for “only those with evidence of being vaccinated”.
Mr. Mangwana said that religious leaders found in breach of the government directive would be arrested.
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.