Conoravirus: Lawyer drags FG to court, seeks ban of flights from China, Iran, Italy

Posted by News Express | 10 March 2020 | 582 times

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By IKECXHUKWU NNOCHIRI, Abuja

A constitutional lawyer, Mr. Jideobi Johnmary, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja to seek for a mandatory order to compel the Federal Government to immediately cease giving clearance for all flights coming into Nigeria from China, Iran, and Italy, pending the containment of the deadly Coronavirus disease.

The legal practitioner who is also a human rights activist, also urged the court to stop FG, through her Diplomatic Missions abroad, from issuing Nigerian Visa of any category, to citizens of China, Iran, and Italy, pending when the World Health Organization, WHO, authoritatively confirms that the spiral spread of the dangerous Coronavirus Disease 2019, COVID-19, has effectively been tamed and totally contained.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, was cited as the sole defendant in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/330/2020.

Specifically, the plaintiff, in the Originating Motion he filed before the court pursuant to section 33 (2), 46 (1) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as Order 2 Rules 1-5 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement) Procedure Rules 2009, prayed the court for the following reliefs:

“A declaration of this Honourable Court that the continuous issuance of Nigerian visa [of any category] by the Federal Government of Nigeria [through her Diplomatic Missions abroad] to citizens of China, Iran and Italy to enable them gain entrance into Nigeria despite the massive spread of the dangerous Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19] constitutes a clear and imminent danger to the right to life of all Nigerians amply protected by Section 33 of the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“A declaration of this Honourable Court that the failure or refusal of the Federal Government of Nigeria [through the Ministry of Aviation] to stop international flights [from China, Iran and Italy] into Nigeria despite the massive spread of the dangerous Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19] constitutes a clear and imminent danger to the right to life of all Nigerians amply protected by Section 33 of the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“A declaration of this Honourable Court that on the authority of Section 46(1) of the amended 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria is duty bound to FORTHWITH stop the issuance of Nigerian visa of whatever category [through her Diplomatic Missions abroad] to citizens of China, Iran and Italy until and unless the World Health Organization [WHO] authoritatively confirms that the spiral spread of the dangerous Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19] has effectively been tamed and totally contained.

“A mandatory order of this Honourable Court directing the Federal Government of Nigeria [through her Diplomatic Missions abroad] to CEASE issuing Nigerian Visa  [of any category] to citizens of China, Iran and Italy FORTHWITH until and unless the World Health Organization [WHO] authoritatively confirms that the spiral spread of the dangerous Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19] has effectively been tamed and totally contained.

Likewise, “A mandatory order of this Honourable Court directing the Federal Government of Nigeria [through the Federal Ministry of Aviation] to CEASE giving clearance FORTHWITH for all flights coming into Nigeria from China, Iran, and Italy PENDING when the World Health Organization [WHO] authoritatively confirms that the spiral spread of the dangerous Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19] has effectively been tamed and totally contained”.

The plaintiff, in a 17-paragraphed affidavit he filed in support of the suit, told the court that the legal action was ” propelled by the urgent need to protect the public health of all Nigerians susceptible to infection of the dangerous Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19] that originated from China and has been spreading like a wildfire to many parts of the world”.

He said his research confirmed that over 100 countries of the world have now reported laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID19.

According to him, “On the 31st day of January 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the dangerous Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19] a global emergency and described the virus as an “unprecedented outbreak” that has been met with an “unprecedented response”.

“After the declaration of the World Health Organization to the effect that the dangerous Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19] is global emergency, many countries of the world initiated measures to forestall the spread of the dangerous disease in their country including travel bans.

“After the declaration of the World Health Organization to the effect that the dangerous Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19] is a global emergency, the United States Government, through State Department, advised against all travel to China due to the threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak, raising its alert to the highest level.

“On or about the 8th of March, 2020, the Italian Government imposed strict quarantine measure on up to 16 million people in Lombardy and 14 provinces who now need special permission to travel under new quarantine rules. In addition, the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, also announced the closure of schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs and other venues across the whole country.

“In France, the virus is spreading among Members of Parliament. Two more members of the National Assembly have tested positive. On the 8th of March, 2020, France reported 1,126 cases, a 19% increase in a day and the second largest number of infections in Europe after Italy. The French Government has consequently banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

“I state that despite the speed with which this dangerous disease is spreading across the world, the extreme difficulty being faced by even the most technologically-advanced countries of the world in containing the disease, the Federal Government of Nigeria has not imposed all relevant travel bans and visa restrictions with a view to protecting the public health of all vulnerable Nigerians.

“Not minding the extreme travel measures adopted by even the most advanced countries of the world as a precaution, the Federal Government of Nigeria has continued to expose millions of hapless, poor and extremely vulnerable Nigerians to the grave but avoidable risk of being eliminated by this extremely dangerous disease by continuing to allow flights from the countries known to be highly infected with the dangerous disease into the Nigerian airspace.

“The foremost duty of every government elected under the Nigerian Constitution is the protection of life and property of citizens.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria is under a duty to take all proactive steps to forestall the spread of this globally-dreaded disease in the country.

The Federal Government of Nigeria is without powers to sacrifice the lives of millions of Nigerians on the altar of diplomatic relations or diplomatic niceties or expose the precious lives of the Nigerian citizens to great peril.

“I know that the failure of the Federal Government of Nigeria to issue travel ban stopping citizens from entering the countries most affected by the dreaded virus endangers my fundamental right to life and that of other hapless Nigerians.

“I know that the failure of the Federal Government of Nigeria to cease the issuance of Nigerian visa to the citizens of China, Italy, and Iran at a time of this great peril places my right to life and that of other millions of vulnerable Nigerian citizens at a great risk of being cruelly terminated by the dangerous Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19].

“I know that the failure of the Federal Government of Nigeria to stop all international flights coming into Nigeria from China, Italy and Iran constitutes a huge and imminent risk to my right to life and that of other millions of vulnerable Nigerian citizens who stand the imminent risk of being swept away by the dangerous Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19].

“I know as a fact that in the event of the spread of the dreaded disease in Nigeria, the Nigerian health sector may find it extremely difficult to handle giving the pronounced poor state of our health facilities as a result of which many Nigerian Leaders regularly travel to other advanced countries to attend to their health needs.

“I know as a fact that time of the greatest essence of this application as it verges on the public health and right to life of all Nigerians which have come under imminent threat of being destroyed”, the plaintiff added. (Vanguard)


Source: News Express

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