Vice President on Tuesday said that questioning the legality of the presidential order restricting movements in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States is quite unnecessary as the action taken by the President is not only important but very well backed by extant Nigerian laws.
According to the Vice President, the steps are proactive, very relevant, legal, important and backed by law.
Prof. Osinbajo said this in Abuja while responding to questions at the Google Hangout programme organized by HACK COVID-19 Call Centre – a private sector initiative supporting Nigeria’s battle against the pandemic.
Osinbajo said; “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.”
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.”
The Vice President also later 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.”
Osinbajo urged all interested individuals and groups to personally go through the legislation in order to understand the provisions therein.
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 several 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 then.
“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