Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo says questioning the legality of the presidential order on lockdown in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States by some Nigerians is entirely unnecessary.
He said this is because the President’s action is not only essential but very well backed by extant Nigerian laws.
Prof. Osinbajo made this observation in Abuja while responding to questions at a program on Monday.
In a statement on Tuesday by Laolu Akande, a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, the Vice President explained that the legality of the shutdowns announced by the President is entirely legal.
”These steps are proactive, very relevant, necessary steps and backed by law”.
“I am not sure some of the people who have commented on the issue of lockdown have come across the Quarantine Act.
”There is a Quarantine Act of 1926; it is published in all the Laws of Nigeria, it is in every edition of the Laws of Nigeria.”
Referring specifically to the part of the legislation that empowers the President to order movement restrictions in any part of the country, Prof. Osinbajo said, “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 communicable disease, and he can then make regulations of any kind”.
“For instance, he can say, people should not go out; no public gatherings/ 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 explained that under constitutional rules, the 1926 Act is deemed to be an Act of the National Assembly.
“So, the President has extensive powers under the Quarantine Act of 1926. Also, Governors have extensive powers under the same Quarantine Act.””
Prof Osinbajo urged all interested individuals and groups to go through the legislation and understand the provisions therein.
He noted that the document is barely a one-page legislation, and not particularly difficult to locate the relevant provisions.
”It is not particularly challenging to read, very straightforward. So, the President has all the powers.”
Speaking further about the legal precedent for the President’s no movement order, Prof. Osinbajo said, “many of us are not familiar with the Influenza pandemic that killed 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.
(The Influenza pandemic was referred to as the Spanish Flu, and it killed thousands in Nigeria and millions across the world.)
”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.” he said
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