THE Federal Government on Wednesday commenced enforcement of COVID-19 vaccine mandate with security agencies preventing unvaccinated civil servants from accessing their offices at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja. 

This is coming amidst apprehension that the country on Wednesday reported three cases of the new Omicron variant of the COVID-19. The strict enforcement was only at the Head of Civil Service of the Federation Wing of the Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja, where officers of Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence (NSCDC) were deployed to enforce the no vaccination card, no entry order. 

At the Phase I and Phase II of the Federal Secretariat, Housing Ministry of Education and former Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation respectively, no enforcement was noticed as both workers and visitors were seen entering and coming of the offices without restriction. 

The situation was different at the HOS complex as workers and general public who failed to provide proof of vaccination or negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) at the entrance gate to the Head of Service building were turned back with many of civil servants accusing government of discriminatory enforcement of compulsory vaccination. 

Ahead of the directive by the Federal Government that officers in the public service on Grade Level 12 and below should resume duties on December 1, the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 had insisted that civil servants without proof of vaccination and negative PCR tests would not be allowed to access government buildings from December 1, 2021. 

Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, reinforced the directive on Monday during the national briefing of the committee. While many civil servants thronged the various vaccination centres provided at the Federal Secretariat to get their jabs, some recalcitrant workers told Nigerian Tribune that they would not present themselves for vaccination because of various myths surrounding the vaccines. 

National President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Dr Tommy Okon, told Nigerian Tribune that the workers were not against the vaccination but asked the government to extend the deadline to the first quarter of 2022. 

“The vaccine is in two folds, the first jab and the second completion jab. It, therefore, means that when you take the first jab, you have to wait for a month for the second dose and this directive came not up to a month ago, and you are subjecting your workers to this medical trauma,” Okon said. 

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