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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

COVID-19: Ubani withdraws suit against FG’s directive on vaccination test

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Dr Monday Onyekachi Ubani, Nigerian lawyer chairman of Nigeria Bar Association section on public Interest and development laws (NBA-SPIDEL), has withdrawn his lawsuit, which he challenged the directive of federal government of Nigeria that civil servants at the federal ministries, departments and agencies must be vaccinated against infections of coronavirus pandemic which ravaged the country in 2020.

Recall earlier that Ubani had filed the suit on 22nd December, 2021 at the federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos state, against the Secretary to the Government of the federation, who served as 1st respondent.

The Attorney-General of the federation, Abubakar Malami also served as 2nd respondent, while the federal government of Nigeria served as 3rd respondent in the lawsuit titled, FHC/L/CS/1951/2021.

The plaintiff (Ubani), sought the declaratory order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st respondent from implementing or further the directive given to all civil servants in Nigeria to the effect, that with effect from 1st 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,

According to him, “the directive by the 1st respondent is unconstitutional, and clear violation of 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.”

On 28th february, 2021,  the federal government of Nigeria through the Secretary to the Government of the federation, had filed a counter-affidavit to the suit, wherein it denied any plan yo embark on compulsory vaccination of civil servants as contemplated by the plaintiff (Monday Onyekachi Ubani).

Meanwhile, at the recent resumed hearing of the suit at federal high court in lagos, on Wednesday, 3rd May, 2023, after several adjournment, the counter-affidavit filed by the 3rd respondent (FG), coupled by absence of legal representatives of the respondents, the presiding judge, Justice Oweibo was of the opinion that events have overtaken the reliefs sought by plaintiff(Monday Ubani), and added that proceeding with the matter would amount to mere academic exercise.

He however, dismissed the suit against federal government of Nigeria.

Also recalls the presiding judge had adjourned the matter to 3rd May 2023 to enable the plaintiff, Mr Ubani(who wasn’t present in court on the 15th February, 2023) to decide whether in view of the present  circumstances he still intends to proceed with the lawsuit.

However,  the plaintiff and former 2nd national vice chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Dr Monday Ubani while earlier announcing withdrawal of his lawsuit against federal government in a statement issued on Wednesday, explained he arrived on the decision after having thorough review of the case with  associates.

He however decried the snail speed with which matters are handled in the court, stating if the adjudication process is speedy, the matter would have long been concluded, as it wouldn’t get to this point where events will overtake it.

His statement partly read: “Dr Monday Ubani, having reviewed the case in chambers with his associates came to agreement with the view of the judge that indeed events have overtaken the reliefs sought, and proceedings with the case in the present reality wouldn’t mount to mere academic exercise.

“However, on the 3rd day of May, 2023, he withdrew the matter, having been overtaken by events, the matter  was struck out.”

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