Civil servants and visitors who could not present their proof of COVID-19 vaccination were refused entry into the secretariat as the Edo State government commenced enforcement of restrictions on large public gatherings for persons without evidence of COVID-19 vaccination within government offices across the state on Wednesday.
The exercise, which started before 7am, saw the State’s Head of COVID-19 Enforcement Team, Mr. Yusuf Haruna, manning the main gate opposite the EFCC office in the GRA, Benin City, while other officials took charge of other entry points.
Those who provided their vaccination cards were allowed entry, while others who could not were told to go back home.
The monitoring team also scanned the cards to be sure that they were genuine before allowing holders into the state secretariat.
Some civil servants said they were taken by surprise and did not bring their cards with them while those who had it in their offices had to send their colleagues to bring them to the gate before they were allowed in.
Others who refused to go home despite being refused entry, were seen loitering around the perimeter fence discussing the action and the effects on them.
“I didn’t know that the order will take effect as I have not had electricity in my house for over one week. I have been vaccinated and I will be back with my card tomorrow,” one of the workers told our correspondent.
When asked about how the government would be able to sustain the move, Haruna stated: “What is important is that where there is a will, there is a way. Governor Godwin Obaseki had demonstrated that the state wants to save lives by dishing out this directive.
“We expect little hitches at the takeoff but there will be improvement as we move on. I am also sure that the people will also want to see if the government is serious about the directive. And with what we started today (Wednesday), we are demonstrating that the government is ready to save lives in the state.
“I am sure that those who did not come with their vaccination cards today (Wednesday) and were sent back home to bring them will not do similar mistake tomorrow. It is clear that many of the workers have taken the vaccine but they are yet to get used to the practice of going about with their cards.
“With the media giving what we are doing here the necessary publicity, people will know the need to comply with the directive.”