The Chairman of the Bwari branch of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja, Clement Chukwuemeka, and three others have dragged the President,Muhammadu Buhari and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, to court for the reckless burial of Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari in April, in violation of the COVID-19 regulations and protocols.
The suit marked FHC/ABJ/462/2015 was filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja on April 30, by Chukwuemeka, two other lawyers, Olalekan Oladapo and Raphael Ogbe, and a civil society group, Wheel of Hope Human Rights Foundation.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Ministry of Information were joined also as defendants in the case.
The plaintiffs alleged that the handling of Kyari’s burial violated the COVID-19 Regulations issued by Buhari and the guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation and the NCDC.
The said burial drew a large crowd, including top government officials and presidential aides.
Video clips showed that they failed to observe the recommended social distancing measures.
Members of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 later apologized for the breach of the regulations and protocols.
The plaintiffs claimed that Buhari, Mustapaha, who is the Chairman of the PTF and other defendants failed in their duties to ensure public safety by allowing such a reckless burial. Their actions therefore endangered people in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The plaintiffs recalled how a Lagos-based actress, Funke Akindele, and Abdulrashid Bello were arrested, prosecuted,fined N100,000 each by a Lagos court and given 14 days’ community service for violating the stay-at-home and social distancing orders.
They further pointed out that over 1,000 persons had been arrested and tried in the FCT, for such violations, saying that “Nigerians expect that having used certain persons as scapegoats, no one should be spared and no one is a sacred cow.”