Demolishing a hotel because of alleged violation of lockdown is indefensible.

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*Demolishing a hotel because of alleged violation of lockdown is indefensible.*

By Inibehe Effiong

It is frightening to see lawyers, including senior members of the Bar like J. C. Okocha, SAN and the AG of Rivers State, defend what is obviously the action of a reprobate mind.
Wike is playing god.
Any law or executive order that purports to give the governor the power to demolish private properties on account of alleged violation of lockdown imposed by the Governor is unconstitutional.
It is not within the province of the legislature or the executive to determine guilt.
Due process does not exist for fun. It exist because power like it is said corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
A society that disregards due process of law is heading to a state of anarchy. Governor Wike swore to uphold the Constitution and the due process of law.
Section 36 (5) of the Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to a presumption of innocence.
The right to acquire and own immovable property anywhere in Nigeria is also guaranteed by Section 43 of the Constitution.
These rights cannot be derogated from by executive fiat.
Demolishing a hotel because of alleged violation of lockdown is an act of executive vandalism. It is also a psychopathic action.
The demolished hotel was a source of employment; families depended on it.
There is no moral, legal or logical justification for Wike’s exuberance.
Responsible leadership is more than juvenile grandstanding. A governor should be reflective, and not just instinctive.
The fact that Governor Wike is a lawyer makes his atrocious action more reprehensible. Any lawyer that justifies brazen illegality is not worthy of his wig.
The victims should seek legal redress.
Those alluding to “doctrine of necessity” are mischievous.
I wrote extensively about the constant misguided reference to the “doctrine of necessity” when Wike started his bellicose actions by shutting all borders without a legal framework.
There is no exception to the rule of law and due process in a constitutional democracy.
If Wike relied on the Quarantine Act, his attention should be drawn to Section 5 of that Act which has prescribed the punishment for violation of regulations made pursuant to the Act.
Upon conviction, the Act states that the violator may be given a term of six months imprisonment or a fine of N200.
Also, seizure and auctioning of vehicles on account of alleged violation of lockdown is equally preposterous. Which court in Rivers State authorised such action?
I have seen people defend the action of Governor Wike. Many Nigerians have affection for dictatorial leaders.
We can’t build a constitutional democracy by endorsing the “strong man” mentality. China, Russia and other one party states should not influence our political system.
I have been preoccupied with some urgent cases which has not given me sufficient time to write elaborately on this issue.
For those who genuinely wanted to know where I stand on Wike’s demolition of the hotel, I hope this brief response will clear your minds.
Regards.


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