President Muhammadu Buhari, has reacted to the inter states border closure announced by some governors as measures to curtail the spread of deadly corona virus disease to their respective states.
He spoke of the development in the broadcast made to the nation on Sunday.
The Buhari-led Government had come under serious attack for failing to show leadership at the federal level at the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Some governors took advantage of that and exerting presidential authority, had announced closure of all land, sea and air traffic in their respective states as part of measures to curtail the spread of the virus.
The development had been decried by hundreds of travellers caught by the decision and other Nigerians who said neither President Buhari nor the governors have the constitutional powers to close inter states borders without recourse to the national and states assemblies.
In his reaction, activist and lawyer, Mr Ebun-olu Adegboruwa, SAN, said: “The President has no powers to restrict the movement of persons without recourse to the National Assembly.
“The President has not invoked his powers under the Constitution to declare any state of emergency, which must be approved by the National Assembly.
He also said that the governors have no constitutional rights to shut borders without recourse to the various state assemblies.
“It is only the governor of the state through the House of Assembly of the state that can make any declaration concerning the people of that state. Little wonder that the President could not cite any law that he relied upon for his declaration”.
Buhari, in his broadcast neither approved the inter states border closure by the governors nor cancelled it in his nationwide broadcast on Sunday.
He merely said that the Federal Government was working to ensure such inter state and intercity movements are restricted to prevent further spread of the infection.
Further more, he said that all inconsistency between the federal and the state governments in the fight against the coronavirus should be eliminated.
“As a nation, our response must be guided, systematic and professional. There is a need for consistency across the nation. All inconsistencies in policy guidelines between Federal and State agencies will be eliminated”.
Rather than shutting every part of the nation, Buhari ordered the cessation of movement in the flash point states of the virus namely, Lagos, Abuja and Ogun states within 14 days.
He said that all movement in the mostly affected states should cease as from 11:pm Monday 30, March.
“The few confirmed cases outside Lagos and Abuja are linked to persons who have travelled from these centres”,
“We are therefore working to ensure such inter state and intercity movements are restricted to prevent further spread”
Buhari singled out Lagos, Ogun and Abuja for the lock down and initial intervention fund which is expected to permeate to other states.
“As we are all aware, Lagos and Abuja have the majority of confirmed cases in Nigeria. Our focus therefore remains to urgently and drastically contain these cases, and to support other states and regions in the best way we can.
“This is why we provided an initial intervention of fifteen billion Naira (N15b) to support the national response as we fight to contain and control the spread, he announced.
No fewer than 18 states had last week either closed their borders and restricted intra-state transportation in the efforts to bring the COVID-19 spread under control.
The states are: Ogun, Rivers, Kogi, Delta, Enugu, Katsina, Nasarawa, Niger, Kano, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Kebbi and Benue, Ekiti, Osun, Abia and Yobe which later joined.