#COVID-19: Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka attacks President Buhari over lock-down order in three states
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has blasted President Muhammadu Buhari for ordering a total lock-down in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States.
Soyinka said that Buhari had no constitutional backing to make the declaration and called on state governors not to allow the usurpation of their powers.
The Nobel Laureate completed his 14-day self-isolation on Monday, having returned from the United States of America recently.
In a statement he signed and made available to reporters in reaction to the President’s nationwide broadcast on Sunday, Soyinka said State Houses of Assembly should determine whether the President acted under the law.
President Buhari had on Sunday declared a curfew in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja from 11:00pm on Monday for 14 days. This he said is to enable authorities reduce the spread of coronavirus.
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Novelist, Soyinka called on constitutional lawyers and elected representatives to step into the matter and educate Nigerians on the powers of the President.
“The worst development I can conceive is to have a situation where rational measures for the containment of coronavirus pandemic are rejected on account of their questionable genesis,” Soyinka 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.”
“Despite the focus on saving lives and sacrifices for the preservation of our communities, we should remain alert to any encroachment on constitutionally demarcated powers.”
He said Nigerians 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 is now alleged to have woken up after a prolonged siesta, and began to issue orders,” the Playwright said.
“Who instigated these orders anyway? From where do they emerge? What happens when the orders conflict 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.”
“So far, the anti-COVID19 measures have proceeded along the rails of decentralized thinking, multilateral collaboration and technical exchanges between states.”
“I urge governors and legislators to be especially watchful. No epidemic is ever cured with constitutional piracy. It only lays down new political viruses for the future,” he said.