COVID-19: Declare State of Emergency in Nigeria – Falana tells Buhari

By Amara Christa

– 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 said 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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