The Presidency has reacted to Professor Wole Soyinka’s comment on the illegality of the 14-day lockdown announced by President Muhammadu Buhari to curtail coronavirus.
POLITICS NIGERIA reported how the Nobel laureate stated that the president did not have the power to unilaterally lockdown a state, as there was no war or emergency.
“All constitutional lawyers and our elected representatives should kindly step into “this and educate us, mere lay minds. The worst development I can conceive us is to have a situation where rational measures for the containment of the Corona pandemic are rejected on account of their questionable genesis, ” He wrote on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Presidency in a statement issued by Garba Shehu, the special adviser on media and publicity, attacked Mr Soyinka.
“Professor Soyinka is not a medical professor. His qualifications are in English literature, and his prizes are for writing books and plays for theatres. He is of course entitled to his opinions – but that is exactly all they are: semantics, not science. They cannot – and should not – therefore be judged as professional expertise in this matter in any shape or form.”
“Across the world – from parts of the United States and China to countries including the United Kingdom and France, government-mandated lockdowns are in place to slow and defeat the spread of coronavirus. All have been declared, and all have been made necessary, based on medical and scientific evidence. The guidance of the Nigerian Government’s medical specialists is to advise the same.
“Professor Soyinka has also declared, doubtless based on his specialism as a playwright, that: “We are not in a war emergency, ” the statement read in parts.
Defending President Buhari’s declaration, Mr Shehu said the government’s primary duty in law and action is the defence of the people of Nigeria.
“We face a global pandemic. Nigeria is now affected. The scientific and medical guidance the world over is clear: the way to defeat the virus is to halt its spread through the limitation of movement of people,” he said.
He then taunted the Nobel laureate saying he may write a play on the coronavirus pandemic after this emergency is over.
He added; “In the meantime, we ask the people of Nigeria to trust the words of our doctors and scientists – and not fiction writers – at this time of national crisis.”