Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), has cleared doubts about the legality of President Muhammadu Buhari’s restriction order in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States.
The Vice President, during an interaction on Google Hangout programme in Abuja on Monday, said the step by step President, bedsides being proactive, was actually backed by law.
The platform on which Professor Osinbajo spoke was organized by HACK COVID-19 Call Centre, a private sector initiative supporting Nigeria’s battle against the COVID-19 Pandemic.
According to the Vice President, in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, the President’s restriction order got its legal root in the Quarantine Act of 1926.
“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.
“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”, he explained.
Referring specifically to the part of the legislation that empowers the President to order movement restrictions in any part 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 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”, he said.
The Vice President explained that by virtue of the 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.”