The Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s lockdown of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun states was legal.
He suggested that those describing the action of the President as illegal might have been ignorant of Quarantine Act in Nigeria.
Professor Wole Soyinka and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN) and a human rights lawyer, are among Nigerians who faulted Buhari’s lockdown order.
But in a statement, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo’s media aide issued on Tuesday, he quoted the Vice President as saying:
“Regarding the legality of the shutdowns announced by the President yesterday, -Sunday-I think it is entirely legal. These steps are proactive, very relevant, important and backed by law.”
Osinbajo, who spoke at a Google Hangout, a programme organised by HACK COVID-19 Call Centre, in Abuja on Monday, according to Akande went further to say:
“I am not so sure some of the people who have commented on the issue have come across the Quarantine Act. There is a Quarantine Act of 1926, it’s been published in all of the Laws of Nigeria, every edition of the Laws of Nigeria, it is there.
“What the Act does is that it allows the President to designate any local area, any part of the country, as a place that may be infected or under the threat of a communicable disease, and he can then make regulations of any kind.
“For instance, he can say, people should not go out; no public gatherings etc. So, it is a regulation that gives the President powers and these powers come from the National Assembly because, of course, it is an act of the National Assembly.”
The vice-president said the 1926 quarantine act is deemed an act of the national assembly going “by the virtue of the constitutional rules”.
“So, the President has extensive powers under the Quarantine Act of 1926. Also, Governors have extensive powers under the same Quarantine Act,” Osinbajo said.
“It is barely a one page legislation, so it is not particularly difficult to find the relevant provisions and it is not particularly difficult to read, very straightforward. So, the President has all the powers.
“Many of us are not familiar with the Influenza pandemic that killed several millions around the world in 1918. At that time regulations were made here, very similar to what we have today, although that was under the colonial authorities.
“They also banned public gatherings, banned gatherings in places of worship then. So, there is even good historical precedence for some of what we are doing today.”
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