There’s no law existing in Rivers State that permits Wike’s action especially for the purpose of enforcing the lockdown.
Nigeria has never experienced a pandemic so the closest related law to a pandemic existing before now is the Quarantine Act/Laws of various States.
In Lagos it is the Public Health Law Cap 16 Vol. 9 Laws of Lagos State, 2015. These laws respectively permit the President & Governors to make regulations to curtail spread of any infectious disease in the country/States. It also permit them to impose sanction on violators of the rules and regulations.
The FG & the Lagos government meanwhile have proactively and responsibly followed the right steps to draw up those regulations which also prescribe the various sanction and punishment that should be meted out on violators of the rules.
An example is when Funke Akindele and her husband were punished under the rule for breaching the regulations. Kaduna, too, has done same. But Emperor Wike has no care. He is fighting the virus and enforcing the lockdown with an “Executive Order”.
Unfortunately, there’s a limit to an executive order. An executive order must be supported by the Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that all executive orders from the president of the United States must be supported by the Constitution, whether from a clause granting specific power, or by Congress delegating such to the executive branch.
A Governor or President cannot arrogate to himself, via an executive order, the power to point and kill. He cannot order a citizen to be assaulted or his property demolished. All that conflicts with the fundamental rights in the Constitution.
So it makes sense to say that some of the orders that Wike has been reading out on television amount to nothing other than part of his trash-talking monologues.
They’re not backed by the Constitution. And if he wasn’t lost in delusion of grandeur, being a lawyer, he should have done better to quickly draft up a regulation like Sanwo Olu and El-Refai instead of an executive order.
Executive order has also been argued to be a strange concept in the Nigerian constitutionalism. It is only popular in America where Supreme Court has specified its scope as already mentioned above.
Because of its unpopularity in Nigeria, Buhari’s government was severely condemned when it suggested that the former national security adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki could be detained by executive order for overriding national security interest. If executive order is more or less unknown in the Nigerian law, how much more when same is used in every manner that does riot to the Constitution of the nation? Let Wike be called to order.
Izu Aniagu, Esq.