“All rights as guaranteed and preserved under Chapter four(4)(Sections 33-46) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (herein after referred to as CFRN 1999) as altered are inalienable and fundamental, however every citizen needs to first be ALIVE and LIVELY before such can enjoy and enforce such rights at any given time” “`Prof. Mike A. Ikhariale“` (a renowned Professor of Constitutional Law, Lagos State University).
In a slight drift from the above statement,S. 45 CFRN 1999 provides for the derogatory clause;a critical and reasonably justified situation wherein rights can be suspended or invalidated from a citizen _in the interest of public defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health and periods of national emergency.
The ongoing global pandemic of the COVID 19 has made it more evident, than before; that this world is truly a literally global village and we all are a undoubtedly inter-connected. Issues of cardinal/regional poles, race, tribe, religion, ethnicity, political party affiliation, social status, language or even national/geographical boundaries are all in the end *irrelevant and inconsequential. We are one people bounded with a common origin. In a very frightening, real and tangible ways, the fate of one affects the fate of the other. It shocks and saddens us to realize that somehow, we still haven’t quite internalized that self-evident universal truth. As the pandemic continues to ravage and devastate the world, we are stunned as we realize that we are in the midst of an unprecedented global warfare and that the only way to truly win this war, is to quickly recognize it as such and take measures that are truly strong, coordinated and global. We are therefore in for urgent, strong, coordinated and truly effective response, as the only sure way to deal effectively with this unprecedented global crisis and guarantee the survival of our world as we know it.
Let us start with countries in the south, particularly the Africa continent. To all intents, spirit and purposes, it appears that the pandemic at this point in time is not severe as in the case in many parts of Europe, Asia and North America. Whether this is truly the case will be justified and determined by time. Invariably, the data that we have flying around in Africa is most probably an under estimation because tests are not being done in sufficient numbers. The African epidemic is no longer just about the importation of the virus. Initial index cases and their contacts have escaped the screening process and unfortunately, effectively mingled with the unsuspecting population. The reality is that community transmission is well underway.
“`Each country in Africa must do it bit. This fight must be taken on at the highest level of government in each country.“` We must learn from the tragedy of the more developed countries that delayed too long in considering an treating it as The National emergency that it is. In Nigeria, each of the state must act strategically but more importantly the Federal government and the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) must be at the helm of control efforts so that adequate control efforts are uniform across the country. _This virus knows no borders. If Lagos is recording a large number of confirmed cases, what that really means is that hundreds and thousands of faceless contacts are moving all over the country and transmitting the infection- hence the community spread. At all cost we must delay the spread to buy time, for several important reasons. We have weak or non-existent health systems in many parts of the country.*_ These systems are expected to deal with the impending loads of cases that would need clinical care or isolation. If we are unable to buy enough time we may never be lucky to become beneficiaries of treatment or vaccination remedies that medical teams, donors and researchers all over the world may succeed in providing. To buy this much needed time, we need to immediately commence as it partially done now and sustain nation-wide lockdown, self-isolation and social distancing where possible.
This needs to be a well coordinated and joint effort of government at all levels, religious leaders, community leaders, private sector, civil society and all non- state actors. Absolutely everybody; as a citizen agenda!! We are blessed with some of the richest men and women in Africa. This is the time for them to join and contribute generously to save their people. Moreover, what will be the money if they or humanity is extinct?
We are also blessed with the largest population in Africa – in fact one fifth of the population in Africa. If we fail to stop the epidemic and it manages to ravage the country, we will bring Africa to her knees not to mention the unimaginable tragedy and suffering that will be unleashed on humanity in general as a chain reaction. During this period of delayed transmission(of the virus), we need to use it wisely to construct emergency hospitals as has been done in China and elsewhere, ship in medical supplies, train, mobilize and import medical personnel and clinical psychotherapists if possible, bring massive numbers of ventilators and other essential medical equipment.
The African continent needs to rise up and show continental leadership encouraging and supporting countries to reach out to their neighbours for support. African Union (AU), now is the time to commence continental leadership at the highest level,African Union needs to demonstrate to us that they are truly a union for the good of Africa. Begin immediate talks if you haven’t already started with the global northern leaders. With Africa Heads of State beginning to draw up joint plans enriched with lessons learnt from the pandemic response in other countries and that address the crisis not just within their countries but in full recognition of the fact that the fate of the continent is intertwined – an epidemic in one country will inevitably provide the pathway into other countries. Strong visionary leadership from the AU needs to be now. Before the pandemic take root, Africa, let your leaders come together.
For the people in the North, it is most unfortunate that within the recent past, your global coordinated action and leadership seems to have been considerably weakened. We have witnessed a move to nationalistic calls and tendencies. A case of us versus the rest of them out there in the world. It is time to put your differences behind you. There is still time for you to demonstrate that you can come together whether as a G7, G8, G20 or whatever. If the global north has been more united and in nexus, countries in Europe such as Italy, Spain and France would have received assistance much earlier in the Pandemic. This begs the question; what on earth is the EUROPEAN UNION(E.U) doing?* Countries like the US and UK would have prepared themselves much better for their own terrifying and unfolding epidemic.
Global leaders in the north and south need to talk to themselves. If the world leaders in the north succeed in dealing with the national epidemic that is ravaging many of their countries today, it can never be counted as success, if the epidemic continues to ravage the countries that are much vulnerable. The epidemic must not be allowed to take root in poorer countries with much deficit in health, finance and other global developmental indexes. Populations will be decimated. Financial and economic systems will retrogress and crash. Entrenched and persistent poverty will become a greater reality. Countries that think they have contained the epidemic cannot remain safe forever. They cannot close their borders indefinitely. Their trades, economy, interest, industries to a large extent also depends on the resources that come from these poorer weaker countries.
Thus, we say to these super powers and power blocks, that _*even as you stretch yourself to try and contain it within your boundaries and nation, you must recognize that an equally important element of this fight is to reach out immediately to the weaker countries and take up the fight there as well.
As we earlier adduced, there is a huge need for testing facilities, health personnel, medical supplies, medical equipment particularly ventilators etc. *But even more boldly – there will be need for economic stimulus packages (e.g) Tax holidays and rebates, concessions and price subsidies, CBN intervention schemes, Telecoms reductions, Food and relief supplies, housing and accommodation cuts etc.* These have been recognized as critical because of the already emerging economic depression in countries allover. These packages needs to be robust and adequate. More robust for countries in the North but as difficult as the notion may be, it is also necessary for the North to deep their hands further into their thinning purses to help countries in Africa and other countries that need help.
We strongly commend the leadership the World Health Organization(WHO) is showing and we are even more proud that the leader of that organization,Dr. Tedros Adhanoms Ghebreyesus, is an African and that he has proven himself beyond reasonable doubt to be a true global health leader. He is calling for global coordination and global leadership. We at CONSTITUTIONAL LAW CLUB join in that clarion call. However, let us add that the precautionary measures so far provided by the WHO which though very sound for most of the world, is not adequate for Nigeria and Africa for several reasons._ In that effective hand washing is much more difficult to achieve for the vast majority of our urban and rural communities that have no running water in their homes. Hand sanitizers are hardly affordable for many in our country. More unfortunately the hand sanitizers predominantly imported/produced and sold to Nigerians here are mainly for bacteria and not for virus against which we wage the immediate war.(This is with a view at driving implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs on Water sanitation and good hygienic environment).
The logistics of social distancing are incredibly difficult – many live in over crowded homes;our markets and public transportation mechanisms(irrespective of their closure) are potential incubators of the virus.* Nigeria and Africa is in urgent need of prevention and containment measures that are tailored for our indigenous systems.
To Dr. Tedros again, we say well done. You are doing a marvellous job sir but you must remember and deliver for your continent.
We are proud of the role that the United Nations(UN) has always played in the world. In times like this that you demonstrate unequivocally that her continuing existence is crucial for the welfare of the world. But they need to become an even bigger/stronger platform that will support and help enforce this global effective, coordinated collaboration and response. They must be bold and insistent in asking everyone to come together in putting nationalistic manifestoes asides.
Deep appreciation to *His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for standing tall in the outbreak of the epidemic in Nigeria, through the *Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) headed by Dr. Chikwe_ at various states and the FCT, the Presidential Task Force(PTF) on Corona Virus – Covid 19′ chaired by the Secretary of the Government of Federation (SGF),Mr. Boss Mustapha,_ the Security Agencies for enforcing contact tracing and restrictions on movement and all sister MDAs for rolling out strict measures and advice to combat the spread and transmission of the monster Virus.
Profound gratitude also to the Lagos State Governor,Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his unrelenting efforts to stem the rapid outburst of the Virus.
In this particular global war, we will either win together or we sink together.
We must all cooperate together at all national and sub national levels. There is no “I have contained it and you have not” or any form of complacency. There can in the final analysis be no victor only the vanquished, if we do not come together. All hands must be on deck in concert. Human lives are way more important than any economic variables or indices.
We from CONSTITUTIONAL LAW CLUB are vain this medium echoing it to the hears of all human that Right to life as enshrined in _Section 33 1999 CFRN_ is sacred, inalienable and most fundamental. at such, we must all collectively protect it guided by the universal moral compass quoted thus “love your neighbors as you love yourself”
For more details on Covid 19′, Contact:
“`NCDC Toll- Free Number:
Stay Safe Nigerians. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!
Yours In- Struggle.
Nwatu Emeka Paul (Greener Pastures)
Comr. Arotiba O. AFFLUENCE
(for the masses)
National Secretary CLC
Comr. Seyon Messitode
Director, Public and Media Relations, CLC