Buhari’s lockdown order backed by law, says Malami

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s lockdown order during his nationwide broadcast over coronavirus on Sunday, is backed by law.

Buhari had in the nationewide broadcast ordered a 14-day lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja to contain spread of the novel disease in the country.

His order, however, has continued to generate several controversies, with many challenging the legality of the president’s directive.

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Joining the fray, foremost human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, had argued the president lacked power to single-handedly declare such directive without consulting with the National Assembly.

But reacting in a statement on Monday, the AGF said Buhari’s lockdown order was backed by quarantine act considering the fact that COVID-19 has been declared an infectious disease.

His words: “Section 3 of the act enables the president to declare any part of Nigeria as an infected area.

“Section 4 of the act further empowers the president to make regulations to prevent the introduction, spread and transmission of any dangerous infectious disease.”

Continuing, he said: “It is important to inform the discerning members of the public that the President did not make a declaration of a state of emergency under Section 305(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which would have required the concurrence of both Houses of the National Assembly.

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“Even at that Section 305(6)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) permits a proclamation of a State of Emergency to run for a period of 10 days without the approval of the National Assembly when the parliament is not in session as in the present situation wherein the National Assembly has shut down.

“The learned silk also goofed when he questioned the president’s powers to restrict movement and claiming that such powers can only be exercised by the state governors and the respective state assemblies.

“It is clear from the president’s broadcast that what His Excellency sought to address is a public emergency occasioned by a dangerous and infectious coronavirus disease.

“The restriction of movement came on the heels of advice received by the President from the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, the two focal agencies in the fight against COVID-19.”

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