- Insists Lockdown Illegal Without NASS
Legal expert, Ebun-oluwa Adegboruwa (SAN) has again maintained that the lockdown order that restricts movement of persons in the country on the account of stopping the COVID-19 spread is being implemented without any legal backing.
Asides Ondo and Edo, almost all the states in the country are under one form of restriction or the other as of Wednesday. Government has been tightening measures against the contagion following the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Nigeria.
The lockdown has even been total in Lagos and Abuja as Ogun braces for Friday after securing a moratorium from President Muhammadu Buhari to allow the state’s residents prepare for a shutdown.
On Tuesday, 35 American oil workers were denied entry into Cross River State on the account of the restriction directive issued by the state Governor, Ben Ayade.
The Americans, who were on board an Air Peace flight, were said to be working for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.
Speaking with newsmen on Tuesday, Ayade’s media aide, Christian Ita said, “We insisted that they should go back and be properly tested before they could come in. We have blocked our boundaries; so, if they must come in because the Federal Government wants them to come in and do one or two things, they have to be sure that they are free of infections, because prevention, they say, is better than cure.”
Meanwhile, Adegboruwa, who on Monday had stated unequivocally that the lockdown order negates citizen’s fundamental rights to movement has again through his interventionist piece insisted that the Quarantine Act of 1926 cannot legalize the restrictions of movement by the President and state governors.
The New Diplomat reported that Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka and Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) have also picked holes in the President’s restriction order.
Though both Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) have said the lockdown order has legal backing, Adegboruwa said “an executive regulation cannot in law take away a fundamental right granted by the Constitution.
“The Quarantine Act of 1926, as its name and provisions connote, is meant for the isolation, care and treatment of victims of infectious diseases simpliciter, for the purpose of isolating them away from interacting with other members of the public, generally. A law enacted for the benefit of those not infected by any disease cannot and should not be twisted to restrain them.”
The learned silk added that: “There is nowhere in sections 4 or 8 of the Quarantine Act that it is stated or anticipated that the President or Governor could make regulations for the restriction of movement of persons on account of infectious diseases, against persons not so infected. Regulations in relation to quarantine are always limited to the infected persons.”
Recall the President signed the COVID-19 Regulations, 2020 on Monday, but Adegboruwa stated that: “For the President to be entitled to make any regulation under sections 4 and 8 of the Quarantine Act, he must have complied with the conditions precedent laid down in sections 2 and 3 of the said Act, namely that:
“The President must first make a DECLARATION of an infectious disease, by a notice duly published in the Official Gazette, stating such to be an infectious disease within the meaning of the Quarantine Act. That has not been done, making the regulation made by the President to be inchoate and premature.
“I therefore humbly urge the President to do the needful by approaching the National Assembly and the States concerned, to harmonize his actions with the laws of our land, failing which all lovers of the rule of law should brace up to challenge this constitutional breach in court, when we have been fully delivered from the compulsory lockdown,” Adegboruwa said.