- Says the president exercised his constitutional power
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has disagreed with Professor Wole Soyinka and other dissenting voices who have labelled the lock-down of Lagos and Ogun as “unconstitutional”
Malami cited Section 305(6)(b) of the Nigerian constitution which gives the president the power to declare state of emergency for the duration of 10 days when the National Assembly is not in session.
In his words,
“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 House of the National Assembly. 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,” Malami concluded.
Meanwhile, the president has signed the COVID- 19 Regulations into law to help in the enforcement of the lockdown of ordered in Lagos, Ogun and FCT.
The statement released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, reads
“In exercise of the powers conferred on him by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004), and all other powers enabling him in that behalf, President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, signed the Covid-19 Regulations, 2020, which declared Covid-19 a dangerous infectious disease. The Regulations, effective March 30, 2020, also gave legal backing to the various measures outlined in the President’s National Broadcast on March 29, 2020, such as Restriction/Cessation of Movement in Lagos, FCT and Ogun State and others toward containing the spread of the pandemic in the country.”