Prof. Wole Soyinka

Mr Seun Abimbola, a former attorney general in Oyo State, on Tuesday described as mere academic exercise any argument against the lockdown order in two states and Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari to check the spread of the coronavirus.

Abimbola spoke against the backdrop of the statement credited to Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, and some lawyers that the lockdown order was unconstitutional.

“Though Prof. Wole Soyinka’s position is arguable one way or the other, but when we look at the scheme of things, the danger we are all seeking to avoid, then, the argument is a nullity.

“The reality is that when people start dropping dead on the streets, no one would engage in this argument

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“When people start dropping dead from states to states, I don’t think anyone would be discussing or arguing on whether we should go on lockdown or not.

“For me, the argument should be finding a solution to the pandemic and should not be about whether the Federal Government is right or not.

“There are provisions in the constitution that give the president the powers to take some steps that might border on infringement of fundamental human rights for the protection of lives and property.

“Coronavirus is not peculiar to Nigeria alone as advanced democracies of the world are also affected.

“Places like the United States of America, United Kingdom and so on also gave either partial or total lockdown orders and Nigeria is not different due to the rate of spread,” the lawyer said.

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But another former attorney-general in Oyo State, Mr Adebayo Ojo, argued that it was only the state government in collaboration with the state house of assembly that the constitution empowered to impose curfew in states.

“It is only when we are in a war situation that the president can order a lockdown of the states,” Ojo said.

Soyinka, human rights activist, Femi Falana and some lawyers had opposed the lockdown in Abuja, Ogun and Lagos States, saying it was unconstitutional.