By Olawale Ajimotokan
Many unvaccinated workers were yesterday barred from the premises of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) following the enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
The enforcement was total in all the parastatals, including the Federal Capital Development Agency (FCDA), the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), Social Development Secretariat, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council, FCT Universal Basic Education Board and the FCT Water Board.
Others included the Secondary Education Board, FCT Primary Health Care Board, Public Health Department, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency and FCT Area Council Staff Pension Board.
The enforcement team led by the Senior Special Assistant on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement to FCT Minister, Ikharo Attah barricaded all the entrances to the secretariat as early as 7:00am, turning back staff and visitors that could not provide evidence of having received the two jabs of the vaccine or recent PCR negative test result in the last 72 hours.
He said while no staff or visitors were being forced to take the vaccines, every individual must present either a vaccination card or a negative COVID-19 test result to gain access to the premises in the light of the surge in cases of Omicron variant.
He noted the administration gave the staff enough time to choose between any of the options approved to avoid the agony of being turned back at the gate.
“We have given a full week for advocacy and we got a van that went round announcing it. Circulars were also circulated in line with the one earlier issued out by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, that staff who are not vaccinated should be vaccinated,” he added.
The team also refused to allow in workers who presented photocopies of vaccine cards or that had them saved on their mobile phone.
As a result of the enforcement, many workers hurriedly opted to receive the vaccines in order to gain access to their offices and to mitigate facing sanctions from the authority.