President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Covid-19 Regulations 2020 to declare Covid-19 as a “dangerous infectious disease”. In a statement by his media office, Buhari was said to have signed the regulations “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”.
Femi Adesina, his spokesman, said 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”.
There had been criticisms of Buhari’s decision to restrict movement in those areas because, according to some lawyers, there was no legal backing. Adesina also said to ensure that Nigerians can still perform on-line transactions and use ATMs during 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”.
Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), had earlier said Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, human rights lawyer who raised issues over the lockdown, goofed. He said the quarantine act empowered the president to restrict movement when a “dangerous disease” breaks out.