COVID-19: Falana asks Buhari to declare state of emergency

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Recall that the federal and state governments had trawled several measures to contain spread of the killer virus in the country.

Some of them had included prohibition of large social and religious gatherings alongside shutting down of schools nationwide.

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Others included restriction of international flights into the country. But some of the directives introduced by the government had not been fully complied with.

This has continued to raise concerns in some quarters given the surging cases of the pandemic in the country. Nigeria presently has 36 confirmed cases of the virus, with fears the statistics could worsen in the coming days.

Commenting on this in a statement issued on Monday, Falana said declaring a state of emergency has become imperative to ensure total compliance with directives initiated to combat spread of the killer virus.

The statement read: “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.

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“Therefore, President Muhammadu Buhari should, as a matter of urgency, issue a proclamation of a state of emergency in the entire Federation pursuant to section 305 (1) of the Constitution.

“Once the proclamation is issued by the President and published it is required to be approved by a resolution supported by 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. If President Buhari does not declare a state of emergency state governors are advised to issue Executive Orders to address the health challenge.”

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