The Five Contradictions in President Buhari’s Speech on Covid-19

By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye

1. Lock Down of Lagos and Ogun States.

This is illegal. Buhari acted like a gladiator of illegality. He lacks power to lock down any state in Nigeria without recourse to National Assembly under the emergency rule law. Only state governors possess such power to lock their states after consultation with their respective State Houses of Assembly which they had already done. Buhari only repeated the same orders Governors Sanwo and Abiodun had issued in Ogun and Lagos respectively instead of appealing to citizens of the states to follow the orders of their governors supported by an order from him to all the centrally-controlled security formations to co-operate with the governors. This is a federal democracy, not a unitary democracy. Sections 45, 305 and 306 of the 1999 constitution as amended are very clear about this.

2. Spending without Legislative Approval.

President Buhari also approved funds without the approval of National Assembly. The laws are very clear. Any emergency funds needed outside budgetary allocation must be approved by the National Assembly. President Trump got the approval of the United States National Assembly to spend $1trillion. Canada, Britain, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Span, Italy, China all went through Legislative approvals before embarking on emergency spending. Lagos State House of Assembly has passed an emergency covid-19 bill to support the state executive. Rivers State Governor has backdated his own declaration to March 20th to cover-up the illegalities he had perpetrated.

3. Exemption of Manufacturing Companies that produces and distributes Petroleum Products and Food Items – Including Retail.

If you ordered a lock-down but say people selling food items and petroleum products are exempted from the lock-down, please who would be buying the petrol, diesel, kerosene, gas and the food items they are selling in retail markets – Ghosts? Definitely, people will still go to market to buy food to eat, gas and kerosene to cook and petrol and diesel to power their generators and cars following the failure of government to provide uninterrupted power supply. Nothing any soldier can do about this unless they are ready to bury people that ‘d die of hunger and starvation.

4. Reactivation of School Feeding Programme.

President Buhari has directed the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs to reactivate the School Feeding programme of his administration suspended after 2019 general elections to give succour to children. The question is: who are they feeding in schools during break? Government want to be feeding the children that are already at home with their parents? Are they ordering the children back to school to feed them? If yes, is that not an antithesis of physical distancing? How would they contain infection spread if the children are recalled back to school to be fed?

5. An Older Speech Masqueraded as a Fresh Speech

In his speech, Buhari surprisingly said “in case the virus spreads to other states”. It is clear that the speech is an older speech. The Virus is already in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Edo, Enugu, Rivers, Bauchi, Kaduna, Benue, FCT yet Buhari made it look like it is still a Lagos, Ogun and FCT affairs. It means the speech was written five days ago and not updated.

Lastly, emotion-riddle Nigerians that says the rule of law is useless because of covid-19 should note that anything outside the provisions of the rule of law in a constitutional and federal democracy is NULL and VOID.

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