Coronavirus: Court Rejects Total Border Shutdown Request
A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, rejected an application to compel the Federal Government to totally bar entry into the country from the US, Iran and China.
Justice Inyang Ekwo refused the ex parte motion filed by an Abuja-based lawyer, Johnmary Jideobi.
He ordered the applicant to put the respondent on notice.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) is the only respondent in the suit.
In the ex parte motion rejected by the court, the applicant stated that coronavirus had killed thousands of people around the world and still spreading like a wildfire.
The motion was brought pursuant to sections 33 (2), 36, 46 (1) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Order 2 Rules 1-5 and Order 4 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement) Procedure Rules 2009 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
Jideobi urged the court to grant an interim order barring all entry of all persons by air, land or sea pending hearing and determination of the originating motion.
He also sought a mandatory order of the court directing that the order prayed for and granted be served on the respondent, who shall ensure that the Federal Government of Nigeria [through all responsible Ministries, Departments, and Agencies] implements same within 48hrs of the order being served on the AGF.
He also prayed for an order setting down the originating motion on notice in the suit for hearing within seven (7) days as envisaged and commanded by Order 4 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Rules, 2009 enacted by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, and any order the court may deem fit to make.
Jideobi reminded the court that the AGF had initially been served with the substantive application on March 13.
The lawyer, in his affidavit in support of the motion, stressed that the application 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 has been spreading like a wildfire to many parts of the world”.
Although Justice Ekwo did not grant the prayers, he directed him to put the respondent on notice within two days of making the order.
He adjourned the matter for hearing till March 26.
The Federal Government had, on Wednesday, placed a travel restriction on 13 countries over the spread of coronavirus.
The countries are China, Iran, South Korea, Germany, Italy, United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, France, and Japan.”
The country also announced a temporary suspension of the visa-on-arrival policy.
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