The Nigerian Senate has thrown its weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari’s lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Buhari announced the restriction of movements before the country confirmed 14 new cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, bringing the total number of recorded cases to 111.
“Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, I am directing the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days with effect from 11pm on Monday, 30th March 2020. This restriction will also apply to Ogun State due to its close proximity to Lagos and the high traffic between the two States,” the Nigerian leader had said in a nationwide broadcast on Sunday night.
But it is not clear if president Buhari informed the National Assembly about this decision before it was taken.
Reacting to this development, Senate spokesman Godiya Akwashiki said Buhari must have obtained legal advice before acting.
“Lagos has been locked down partially since a few days ago. It is not something to worry about. They should allow leaders to make decisions, especially in this type of crisis situation that we are faced with. I want to believe that the President must have consulted well,” Akwashiki said.
“I want to assure you that if it is something that is constitutionally mandatory for the Senate to approve, we said it the other day when we took a break that the leadership had directed all Senators to be on standby in case of any emergency.
“If it needs the attention of the Senate, I want to assure you that for the betterment and safety of our own people, it will be done because that is the primary reason for which we are there.
“We are all working hard to see that we get out of this crisis. So there is no cause for alarm.”
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Sunday night confirmed the aforementioned 14 new cases of coronavirus in the country.
Concise News reports that nine of the latest cases are in Lagos while five are in the country’s capital, Abuja.
“Fourteen new cases of #COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria; 9 in Lagos and 5 in FCT,” the health agency tweeted.
As of Monday, more than 678,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 190 countries and territories worldwide, resulting in approximately 31,700 deaths. More than 146,000 people have since recovered.