A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has advised some State Governors against the closure of their borders.
According to the rights activist: ‘IT IS ILLEGAL FOR GOVERNORS TO CLOSE THE BORDERS OF THEIR STATES
‘The right to freedom of movement is guaranteed to every citizen of Nigeria under section 41 of the 1999 Constitution and also under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
‘Through this fundamental right, every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part of Nigeria and no citizen of Nigeria shall be refused entry to or exit from any part of Nigeria.
Although this right is not absolute, but the conditions and exceptions to derogate from it are well stated in the Constitution. It will require a law properly so made, to derogate from this right.
‘Consequently, no State Governor is allowed to deny any citizen of Nigeria the right of movement into or exit from any State in Nigeria, even under emergency situations such as Coronavirus. There has to be a law backing up such policy or declaration.
Most States in Nigeria share boundary with other States such that denial of access to one State may lead to denial of access to other States.
‘I believe that the Governors of Rivers, Kano and Kogi States are wrong to have closed their State borders to prevent people from access to or exit from these States.
Coronavirus cannot be an excuse to perpetrate illegality.
Any Governor who desires to restrict the movement of people for whatever reason should do so in accordance with the Constitution and other existing laws.
‘Since Nigeria is still a Federation of many States, it is totally illegal for one State to shut it’s borders against indigenes of other States.’