President Buhari today signed the COVID-19 Regulations, 2020 giving him the executive powers to declare COVID-19, a dangerous infectious disease.
The COVID-19 regulation also gives the president the legal backing for all the measures his government has put in place to curtail the spread of the ravaging virus particularly the lockdown of some states.
A statement issued by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, explained that this is “in exercise of the powers conferred on the president by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004).”
The statement in part reads:
“In exercise of the powers conferred on him by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004), and all other powers enabling him in that behalf, President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, signed the Covid-19 Regulations, 2020, which declared Covid-19 a dangerous infectious disease.
The Regulations, effective March 30, 2020, also gave legal backing to the various measures outlined in the President’s National Broadcast on March 29, 2020, such as Restriction/Cessation of Movement in Lagos, FCT and Ogun State and others toward containing the spread of the pandemic in the country.
In addition, to ensure that Nigerians can still perform on-line transactions and use ATMs whilst observing these restrictions, exemption is granted financial system and money markets to allow very skeletal operations in order to keep the system in light operations during the pendency of these regulations.
On Sunday March 29th, the President addressed the Nation and announced the restriction of movement in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus in Nigeria.
Legal practitioners and Senator Dino Melaye kicked against the directive issued by the President. They argued he had no legal backing to issue such a directive.