human rights lawyer, Femi Falana has said that President Muhammadu Buhari did no wrong by ordering the lockdown of Lagos and Ogun, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) over Covid-19.
The lawyer, however, said it was illegal for the Nigerian government to deploy soldiers to enforce the lockdown.
He said in a statement:
“Following the national broadcast of President Buhari on the COVID-19 pandemic, some lawyers have questioned the constitutional validity of the restriction of locomotion of people in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states. No doubt, the President is empowered to adopt any measures deemed fit to combat the dangerous disease but such measures have to be spelt out in a Regulation made pursuant to section 305 of the Constitution or under the Quarantine Act.
Otherwise the presidential order on restriction of movement in the affected areas cannot be enforced by the police.
“However, while the nation’s armed forces should be commended for making their medical facilities available to members of the public in the fight against the highly dangerous virus the plan to dispatch armed soldiers to the streets to enforce the COVID-19 guidelines should be shelved because it is illegal.
“For the umpteenth time, I am compelled to draw the attention of the military authorities to the case of Yussuf v Obasanjo (2005) 18 NWLR (Pt ) where Salami JCA (as he then was) held that “It is up to the police to protect our nascent democracy and not the military, otherwise the democracy might be wittingly or unwittingly militarized. This is not what the citizenry bargained for in wrestling power from the military in 1999. Conscious steps should be taken to civilianise the polity and thereby ensure the survival of and sustenance of democracy.”
The human right lawyer said the military should concentrate their efforts on the war against insurgency in the North-East and allow the police and allied security agencies to enforce the COVID-19 regulations and guidelines.hggh