Daily Law Tips (Tip 746) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK)

For no clear reasons, COVI-19 is not feared in Nigeria as it is feared in Europe and America. While governments in Nigeria strive to increase awareness and to prevent COVID-19, many Nigerians doubt the existence or deadliness of COVID-19. Even with the surge in reported cases of COVID-19, many Nigerians argue that the reports are political and deceitful. To further ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocols, the Federal Government of Nigeria signed a new COVID-19 health regulation in January 2021. The regulation mentioned and empowered some specific law enforcement agencies and agents in Nigeria to enforce the COVID-19 regulations across Nigeria.

Law Enforcement Officers and the COVID-19:
Nigeria is a democratic state that operates on written laws. So, nothing can be an offence in Nigeria, unless it is clearly written in a state or federal law as an offence. Also, laws in Nigeria often mention the persons that can arrest, detain and prosecute offenders. President Buhari of Nigeria, signed into law the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021 on 26 January 2021. The said Regulations came into force immediately and operates in all parts of Nigeria.

By the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021, certain actions and inactions relating to COVID-19 protocols where criminalized. As such, specific punishments were created for them, with the maximum punishment being imprisonment for six (6) months or a fine of not more than Two Hundred Naira (N200.00) (that is less than $1). Relying on the fine contained in the Quarantine Act of 1926 in making the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021 has made a mess of the fine. The fine is too poor and the federal legislature should increase it ensure deterrence.

The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021, further selected and mentioned the law enforcement agencies and agents that can enforce the Regulations. The law enforcement or security agencies vested with the statutory power to investigate and prosecute any person in respect of any offence under the COVID-19 Regulations, are; Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, and other relevant Local Government, State and Federal Government agencies.

Whether a person in Nigeria believes in the existence or nature of COVID-19 is immaterial, every person in Nigeria must obey and observe all COVID-19 health protocols. This includes, wearing of face mask, using of soap/hand sanitizers and keeping of healthy distances. Failure to adhere to any of the COVID-19 health protocols in the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Health Protection Regulations 2021 is a criminal offence. And, the law enforcement officers mentioned above, have the right and power to arrest, investigate and prosecute such offenders.

My authorities, are:

1. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 36, 318 and 319 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
2. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 of the Quarantine Act of 1926.
3. Regulations 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 15, 18, 24, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 42 of the Coronavirus Disease [COVID-19] Health Protection Regulations 2021
4. Onyekachi Umah, “Why the Poor Fine of N200.00 for Not Wearing Face Mask Can’t Change” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 February 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/why-the-poor-fine-of-n200-00-for-not-wearing-face-mask-cant-change/> accessed 26 February 2021.
5. Onyekachi Umah, “N200.00 is the Highest Fine for Not Wearing Face Mask.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 4 February 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/n200-00-is-the-highest-fine-for-not-wearing-face-mask/> accessed 10 February 2021.
6. Onyekachi Umah, “Not Wearing a Face Mask Is Now A Crime” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 29 January 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/not-wearing-a-face-mask-is-now-a-crime/> accessed 2 February 2021.
7. Onyekachi Umah, “Failure To Wear Nose Mask Is Not An Offence In Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 28 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/failure-to-wear-nose-mask-is-not-an-offence-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-557-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021.
8. Onyekachi Umah, “Nigeria Has No Law Against Public Gathering During COVID-19 Era.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 14 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/nigeria-has-no-law-against-public-gathering-during-covid-19-era-daily-law-tips-tip-547-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021.
9. Onyekachi Umah, “Is There a Quarantine Act Made in 2004, After That of 1926 in Nigeria?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 5 May 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/is-there-a-quarantine-act-made-in-2004-after-that-of-1926-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-562-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021.
10. Onyekachi Umah, “Court That Can Try Cases On Quarantine And Lockdown In Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 23 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/court-that-can-try-cases-on-quarantine-and-lockdown-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-554-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk-2/> accessed 28 January 2021.
11. Onyekachi Umah, “Punishment For Violation Of The COVID-19 Regulations Or The Quarantine Act.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 6 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/punishment-for-violation-of-the-covid-19-regulations-or-the-quarantine-act-daily-law-tips-tip-541-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021
12. Onyekachi Umah, “Illegality Of Covid-19 Regulations Of 2020 And The Toothless Quarantine Act Of 1926” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 1 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/illegality-of-covid-19-regulations-of-2020-and-the-toothless-quarantine-act-of-1926-daily-law-tips-tip-538-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021.
13. Onyekachi Umah, “How To Legally Declare State Of Emergency Over Covid-19 In Nigeria Or Any State.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 15 May 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/how-to-legally-declare-state-of-emergency-over-covid-19-in-nigeria-or-any-state-daily-law-tips-tip-570-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021
14. Onyekachi Umah, “Can “NCDC” Make Regulations For Nigeria?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 29 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/can-ncdc-make-regulations-for-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-558-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021.
15. Onyekachi Umah, “Management and Disposal of COVID-19 Corpses in Nigeria.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/management-and-disposal-of-covid-19-corpses-in-nigeria-daily-law-tips-tip-556-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> access 28 January 2021.
16. Onyekachi Umah, “COVID-19 and Landlords: Can Government Force Landlords Not To Eject Tenants?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 15 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/covid-19-and-landlords-can-government-force-landlords-not-to-eject-tenants-daily-law-tips-tip-548-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021.
17. Onyekachi Umah, “Punishment For Price Increment During COVID-19 Lockdown In Lagos State.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 13 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/punishment-for-price-increment-during-covid-19-lockdown-in-lagos-state-daily-law-tips-tip-546-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021.
18. Onyekachi Umah, “Persons That Must Provide Medical Equipment For COVID-19.” (LarnNigerianLaws.com, 10 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/persons-that-must-provide-medical-equipment-for-covid-19-daily-law-tips-tip-545-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021.
19. Onyekachi Umah, “Can An Offender Be Convicted Under The Lagos State Infectious Diseases Regulations Or Other States’ Regulations?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 9 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/can-an-offender-be-convicted-under-the-lagos-state-infectious-diseases-regulations-or-other-states-regulations-daily-law-tips-tip-544-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021.
20. Onyekachi Umah, “The COVID-19 Laws In States Or State Of Emergency: Best Tool In Fighting Coronavirus?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 8 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/the-covid-19-laws-in-states-or-state-of-emergency-best-tool-in-fighting-coronavirus-daily-law-tips-tip-543-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021.
21. Onyekachi Umah, “House Rent And COVID-19: Can Landlords Evict Tenants?” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 7 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/house-rent-and-covid-19-can-landlords-evict-tenants-daily-law-tips-tip-542-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021.
22. Onyekachi Umah, “Shooting Of Isolation Centers’ Escapees Is Unlawful And Punishable.” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 April 2020) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/shooting-of-isolation-centers-escapees-is-unlawful-and-punishable-daily-law-tips-tip-540-by-onyekachi-umah-esq-llm-aciarbuk/> accessed 28 January 2021.

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