A former Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Monday Ubani, has described as barbaric the pronouncement of Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, that any resident found on the street without a face mask will be flogged.
The lawyer also scolded the governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, for making a similar pronouncement earlier.
Ubani, in a statement on Thursday, said the governors’ pronouncement was unconstitutional because they were not backed by any existing law.
Ubani said, “It will be an absurdity taken to the highest pinnacle to permit the executive that executes laws made by the legislature to begin to enact laws and creates offences in the state as being canvassed by some persons who ought to know. It is a criminal breach of the separation of powers as enshrined in our constitution to suggest and approve that in our land.
“Much as we agree that the times we are in are not normal and require every hand on deck to stem the tide of the spread of the dangerous virus, we must not allow the birth and delivery of monarchs in Nigeria as governors who will never know when to stop even after we have successfully curtailed this virus.
“It is a fact that over 90 per cent of the state governors have failed their people woefully at this critical time to provide the necessary palliatives to cushion the biting effect of hardship occasioned by the lockdown that has become their lot due to the coronavirus pandemic. It becomes double and tragic jeopardy for the same governments that have failed in their responsibility towards their people to inflict more pain and hardship by prescribing verbal punishment for not wearing face masks that ordinarily should be provided free of charge to the citizens.
“To impose unwritten criminal liability on these hapless citizens is not only inhumane but sheer show of wickedness in high places.”