The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has slammed human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), for faulting the order of President Muhammadu Buhari restricting movement in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states.
Adegboruwa had said the President had no right to give such directive without recourse to the National Assembly.
In a statement on Monday, Malami said the President did not commit any illegality.
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 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 added that the correct position remains that the President acted rightfully under the powers conferred on him by the Quarantine Act 1990 CAP 384 LFN which has the title: “An Act to provide for and regulate the imposition of quarantine and to make other provisions for preventing the introduction into and spread in Nigeria, and the transmission from Nigeria, of dangerous infectious diseases”.
The minister said it is not in doubt that COVID-19 is an infectious disease of a contagious nature which the President as rightly declared under Section 2 of the Quarantine Act to be a dangerous infectious disease.
“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.”
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