Curfew: Soyinka Questions Buhari’s Constitutional Power
Nigerian Playwrite and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka has questioned President Muhammadu’s constitutional authority to lock down Ogun, Lagos and Abuja.
In his nationwide broadcast on Sunday, Buhari announced lockdown in two states and the capital city of the nation, Abuja as one of the measures to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
Reacting on Monday, Soyinka said so long Nigeria is not in a war, Buhari does not have such power to declare the curfew.
But Soyinka asked federal lawmakers among others to intervene in the situation, saying: “The worst development I can conceive is to have a situation where rational measures for the containment of the coronavirus pandemic are rejected on account of their questionable genesis. This is a time for Unity of Purpose, not nitpicking dissensions.”
He added: “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.
“We need to exercise collective vigilance, and not compromise the future by submitting to interventions that are not backed by law and constitution.
“A President who has been conspicuously AWOL, the Rip van Winkle of Nigerian history, is now alleged to have woken up after a prolonged siesta, and begun to issue orders.
“What happens when the conflict of the orders with state measures, the product of a systematic containment strategy – `including even trial-and-error and hiccups – undertaken without let or leave of the centre?”