- Femi Falana has called on Nigeria's leader to declare a State of Emergency in Nigeria
- The human rights lawyer said a few governors and the federal government responded late to the pandemic
- Falana noted that their directives were ignored because they were not backed by any law
Amid the spread of the deadly coronavirus in Nigeria, a human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a State of Emergency in the country.
Falana, in a statement released on Monday, March 23, said the Nigerian federal government and a few governors responded late to COVID-19 pandemic last week. He went on to note that in order to curb the spread of the virus, the government has since advised Nigerians to comply with certain measures.
The senior lawyer explained that since the measures taken by the government are not backed by any law some highly placed Nigerians including political and religious leaders are ignoring the directive while others take no account out of ignorance.
He said: “In order to stem the dangerous trend, the federal government should put necessary legal measures and mechanisms in place without any further delay.
“In particular, the attention of the Nigerian people ought to be drawn to section 45 of the Constitution which provides that the fundamental rights of citizens to personal liberty, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and association, etc may be infringed upon or restricted in the interest of public health and public safety.”
In line with Section 305 (1) of the constitution, Falana called on the president as a matter of urgency to proclaim a State of Emergency on the nation.
He said if the Nigerian leader does not declare a State of Emergency, governors are advised to issue Executive Orders to address the health challenge.
The lawyer added: “Once the proclamation is issued by the president and published it is required to be approved by a resolution supported by a two-thirds majority of each house of the National Assembly.
“Once the measures are set out in the said proclamation they will have the force of law capable of being enforced by the police and other security agencies.
“However, it is pertinent to point out that the majority of the inmates in the nation’s highly congested correctional centres are not in a position to observe the social distancing policy recommended for the Nigerian people by the federal government."
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the governor of Niger state, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has reportedly declared a shut down in the state, declaring restriction of movement from 8am to 8pm, as Nigeria's confirmed coronavirus cases rise.
The restriction of movement which the governor announced in a state broadcast on Monday, March 23, will commence on Wednesday, March 25. Governor Bello said the move became necessary due to the new cases emerging from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), noting theta Niger state is very close to the FCT.
In a related development, Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, has disclosed that his son has tested positive for the coronavirus disease. The politician disclosed this in a tweet on his verified Twitter handle on Sunday night, March 22.
Atiku revealed that the NCDC has been duly informed about the situation and that his son had been moved to the Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital in Abuja for treatment. He did not mention the name of which of his sons was infected by the disease.
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