Lockdown Order: Abia Government Draws Battle Line With Traders Over Hike In Prices … Threatens Forfeiture Of Goods

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Abia state government led by Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu has urged traders in Abia state to desist from taking advantage of the vulnerability of residents, through inappropriate involvement in the hoarding or inflation of prices of any commodity in the state.

Governor Ikpeazu gave this warning, following the persistent lockdown order as prompted by the dreaded coronavirus disease, insisting that the government has the power to direct the forfeiture of foods, drugs and other essential goods to the State where the owners engage in hoarding or inflation of prices

In a release issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Onyebuchi Ememanka (Esq.), recounts  that the Governor, according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, has the power to direct the restriction of movement within, into and out of Abia State, save for the movement of essential supplies and essential services personnel.

The release read in full….

“The General Public, and in particular citizens and residents of Abia State are, by this notice, informed that the the Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD, has made a number of Regulations aimed at empowering the State Government and the Office of the Governor to take all necessary measures to protect the people of the State against the COVID-19 Pandemic.

These regulations which came into effect on the 1st Day of April 2020 are known as and called the ABIA STATE INFECTIOUS DISEASES (EMERGENCY PREVENTION) REGULATIONS 2020.

In making these regulations for the good order, safety, security and public order in Abia State, the Governor acted pursuant to the plenitude of powers conferred on him in that regard by the Abia State Public Health Law, Cap 139 Laws of Abia State 2005 and in particular, by Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, Cap C02, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, (having regard to the provisions of Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap C02, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004), and further pursuant to all other enabling laws and powers in that regard, subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.

The Regulations confer on the Governor certain powers which, amongst others, include –

1. The power to direct the restriction of movement within, into and out of Abia State, save for the movement of essential supplies and essential services personnel,

2. The power to direct that a Potentially Infected Person shall immediately go to a place specified for screening and assessment, or the removal of such person where the person refuses or fails to go to a place specified for screening and assessment,

3. The power to restrict or prohibit the gathering of persons in any part of Abia State such as conferences, meetings, festivals, private events, religious services, public visits, etc,

4. The power to order the temporary closure of public places such as event centers, bars, places of worship, educational institutions and other such public places within the State,

5. The power to order temporary closure of markets save for the sale of essential products such as food and pharmaceutical products

6. The power to direct against the hoarding of goods and the inflation of prices of goods and services

7. The power to direct the forfeiture of foods, drugs  and other essential goods to the State where the owners engage in hoarding or inflation of prices

8. The power to assume such Omnibus Powers as he shall deem necessary to ensure the protection of the people of Abia State.

The Regulations also create Offences for which any person who breaches the Regulations shall be liable under the relevant laws to fine or imprisonment or both in accordance with extant laws.

Full copies of the Regulations are available at the Office of the Honorable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, as well as that of the Honorable Commissioner for Information, Abia State.

Be guided, please.

Ignorance of the Law is no excuse!

Onyebuchi Ememanka, Esq
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
17th April 2020.”

By Famous Reporters

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