Social Distancing: Why Govt. Must Apologise to Funke Akindele, Others

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“When the government seeks to punish someone for an offense that was not deemed criminal at the time it was committed, the rule of law is violated because the government exceeds its legal authority to punish. The rule of law requires that government impose liability only insofar as the law will allow,” says report.

But in a system where government violates extant laws on the expense of shielding a few minority in power while denying another of enjoying the same privilege meted on the former, what exemplary lessons is such government dishing out to its followers?

Ours is a case of political hypocrisy where the political elite only formulate laws for the benefit of few in its fold, and in turn, are detriment to the larger members of the society. This is an act of injustice and unfairness that must be frowned against if we must right the wrongs in this bastardised system of governance.

It will be recalled popular Nollywood Actress, Funke Akindele and her husband AbdulRasheed Bello, also known as JJC Skillz, were convicted for hosting a birthday party in their Amen Estate home during the coronavirus lockdown enforced, March 30 2020. The court sentenced the couple to 14-day community service after they pleaded guilty to a one-count charge of violation of social distancing order preferred against them by Lagos State government.

However, many Nigerians have since taken to their social media asking the government to tender an apology letter to Nollywood actress Funke Akindele and others who were convicted unfairly. owing to the fact that, the Federal Government allowed a crowd to attend the funeral of the former chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari (of blessed memory) who died of the Coronavirus recently.

The situation was worsened after a video emerged showing that one of the men who helped bury the Chief of Staff dumped his protective clothing in public. Amid calls for the man to be identified, isolated and prosecuted, the area was later decontaminated. The big question is, would the government admit its wrong and do the needful outrightly or otherwise?

Following this, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, has apologised over violations that took place during the burial of the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, in Abuja on Saturday, April 20 2020. 

β€œThe PTF recognises, regrettably, the unintentional violation of the principles and protocols that form the core of our message to Nigerians at the funeral of the late chief of staff,” the SGF was quoted.

As far as Nigerians are concerned, verbal apology ought not to have been the proper channel of communication in this regard as what is sauce for the goose, is also sauce for the gander meaning; the government against all odds, must make formal statement to the public stating its apology to those who have been treated unfairly during the lockdown as she did when the latter were convicted.

Against this backdrop, the Federal Government should as matter of necessity make amend as regards the actress and others convicted for violating the social distancing law by ensuring that the rule of law is strictly adhered to, not minding who is affected or would be affected by its decision. The essence is to safe our democracy from extinction and observe the necessary modalities interned with international standard. 

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