Coronavirus: Lockdown of Lagos, Ogun, Abuja by presidential fiat illegal -Adegboruwa

Ebun-olu Adegboruwa

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ebun-olu Adegboruwa, has picked holes with the president's directive that  Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and Ogun be totally locked down following the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in a nationwide broadcast, Sunday night, ordered total lock down of the three strategic areas for an initial period of 14 days in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.

But in a statement almost immediately, Adegboruwa says the president has no powers to restrict the movement of persons without recourse to the National Assembly.

According to him, the president has not invoked his powers under the Constitution to declare any state of emergency, which must be approved by the National Assembly.

Hear him: "We are running a constitutional democracy and it is illegal for the President to take over the affairs of any State of the Federation without the express consent of the people of that State through their elected representatives.

"It is only the Governor of the State through the House of Assembly of the State that can make any declaration concerning the people of that State. Little wonder that the President could not cite any law that he relied upon for his declaration.

"I support every measure taken to contain the Coronavirus pandemic but such must be in accordance with law. If we allow this to stay, then tomorrow the President may just impose total restriction on all States of the Federation for whatever reason.

"I humbly urge the President to reverse the restrictions and work with the States concerned in accordance with the laws of our land.

"Also, there must be measures put in place to address the financial consequences of the proposed shutdown, especially for small scale businesses, those who depend on daily earnings and the needy and vulnerable members of the societies to be affected."

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