Curfew: More Reactions Over Deployment of Soldiers to Enforce Lockdown
Nigerians are reacting over the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to deploy Nigerian soldiers to enforce the lockdown.
On Sunday, Buhari had announced a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
It was one of the measures by the Federal Government to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, particularly in Lagos where confirmed cases are over 80.
The decision has been criticized by many Nigerians including Nigerian Playwrite and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka and a Constitutional lawyer, Inibehe Effiong.
The Defence Headquarters military said on Monday it was ready to implement the presidential order on the restriction of movement to curtail the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, announced this on Monday while briefing reporters at the DHQ in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Reacting, Wole Soyinka said “So, before this becomes a habit, a question: does President Buhari have the powers to close down state borders? We want clear answers. We are not in a war emergency.
“Appropriately focused on measures for the saving lives, and committed to making sacrifices for the preservation of our communities, we should nonetheless remain alert to any encroachment on constitutionally demarcated powers.”
Dr Charles Omole Lawyer and Judge, Intrepid, Business & Political Strategist said “Policing the lockdown announced for LAGOS, Abuja and then Ogun states is the job for the NPF and nothing to do with the Army. It is strange how our military always seems too eager to get involved in civil enforcement that they are not trained for. “
Inibehe Effiong via Twitter said on Tuesday that “Deploying soldiers to enforce lockdown is wrong. Constitutionally, soldiers can only be deployed to aid civil authorities when the police are overwhelmed. Soldiers are not supposed to discharge police functions. Is the Nigerian Police overwhelmed? Stop making nonsense of our institutions.
Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said ” The Military has no legal or constitutional power to enforce COVID-19 lockdown in Lagos, Abuja, Ogun or any part of the country for that matter. See the case of Yussuf v Obasanjo (2005) 18 NWLR: ‘It is up to the police to protect our nascent democracy and not the military.’
Nigeria currently has 139 cases of Coronavirus with Lagos and Ogun State, as well as the country’s capital, Abuja taking the lead.
Six have been discharged while the nation lost two patients to the virus.
Experts had warned that more cases might be confirmed and the United States of America have started evacuating her citizens ahead of the prediction.
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