COVID -19 Emergency Laws and Law Enforcement in Nigeria America And Britain.

Monday. O. Oseghale


In Nigeria, the Covid-19 pandemic is showing two worst features of Nigeria’s attitude towards law. These are its flagrant utter disregard for rule of law and its flagrant abuse of human Rights. All over the world, it is quite obvious that there is absolute indisputable need for lockdowns and social distancing to stop the spread of Corona virus Pandemic. That is scientifically and medically established. However, both measures must conform with the two conditions of rule of Law and Human Rights. In an attempt to contain the spread the governments resort to emergency laws which violate the human rights of the citizenry. The thrust of this paper is to examine emergency laws during Covid-19 and enforcement of emergency laws in three different climes; Nigeria, America and Britain, and how these emergency laws have been enforced in violation of the fundamental rights of the people with the resultant human rights abuses. The paper finds that in enforcing emergency laws to contain this pandemic, the rights of the citizens are hampered and abused. In Nigeria the Quarantine Act of 1926, does not confer powers to violate the human rights and personal liberty of Nigerians. Also in America and Britain where such laws exist to contain the pandemic, the laws are to be enforced with regards to the rights of the people.  It therefore concludes that in an attempt to contain the spread of such pandemic, through lockdowns and social distancing, it must be done within the parameters of the rule of law and protection of the rights of the citizens and the enforcement must be on the principle of proportionality. It recommends that if the government wants such powers, it should declare a state of emergency or enact a primary legislation that sets out such specific powers and not merely on Executive order.

Keywords: Covid-19, Emergency, Emergency laws, State of Emergency and Law Enforcement.

DOI: 10.7176/JLPG/99-13

Publication date:July 31st 2020

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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