COVID-19:Declare State of Emergency Now, Falana Tells Buhari

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Femi-Falana

Martins Ifijeh

Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Femi Falana has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to issue a proclamation of a state of emergency in Nigeria immediately, as part of measures to halt the spread of COVID-19.

He said the proclamation is the legal backing required for the enforcement of measures against the disease.

Falana, in a statement made available to THISDAY, said Nigerians, especially highly placed political and religious leaders, have ignored government’s directive because the measures were not backed by any law in the country.

He said: “In order to stem the dangerous trend, the government should put necessary legal measures and mechanisms in place without any further delay.

“In particular, the attention of the Nigerian people ought to be drawn to Section 45 of the Constitution, which provides that the fundamental rights of citizens to personal liberty, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and association may be infringed upon or restricted in the interest of public health and public safety.

“Once the proclamation is issued and published, it is required to be approved by a resolution supported by two-thirds majority of each house of the National Assembly. Once the measures are set out in the said proclamation, they will have the force of law capable of being enforced by the police and other security agencies.”

He said if President Buhari does not declare a state of emergency, state governors should issue Executive
Orders to address the health challenge.