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The legal authority of the Nigerian federal government to take extraordinary measures during public health crises is based on the emergency powers of the president and the legislature under the 1999 Constitution and the authority accorded to the executive body, specifically the health authorities, under the 1926 Quarantine Act.  The Quarantine Act gives the president and the country’s health authorities broad powers to deal with public health crises.  The President is authorized, among other things, to declare any infectious disease a dangerous infectious disease, declare any area in or outside of Nigeria an infected area, and issue regulations to prevent the spread of any dangerous infectious disease.  It appears that the power to issue regulations has been exercised only once, with the issuing of the Quarantine (Ships) Regulations, which authorize or require port health officers to take a host of measures to prevent the importation into and spread of infectious diseases within Nigeria.

A bill (SB 210) aimed at replacing the Quarantine Act is currently being considered by the upper chamber of Nigeria’s legislature.  Among other things, SB 210 seeks to streamline the public health response by establishing a commission that will prepare a plan for prevention and containment of public health emergencies, including ensuring that all tiers of government are duly prepared for such events.  It also seeks to introduce transparency in the way that the Nigerian government handles public health crises by requiring the constant dissemination of a specific set of information to the public.  In addition, it aims to provide certain protections to persons subjected to isolation or quarantine. 

Nigeria’s ability to effectively deal with public health crises was tested with a recent outbreak of Ebola in Lagos and Port Harcourt.  Nigeria immediately mobilized the relevant government institutions and allocated the necessary funds to take prevention and suppression measures, particularly to conduct wide contact-tracing investigations.  This and other factors enabled the country to contain the outbreak quickly with only nineteen infections and seven deaths.  As of the date of this report, Nigeria was Ebola free.

I.  Government Structure

Nigeria, with an estimated population of over 168 million and a population density of 182.8 people per square mile, is by far the most populous country in Africa.[1]  A federation, Nigeria has a three-tiered government structure including the federal government, thirty-six states[2] and a federal capital (Abuja), as well as 768 local government areas within the states.[3] 

Legislative power at the federal level is vested in a bicameral legislative body with a 360-member House of Representatives and a 109-member Senate.[4]  At the state level, this power is vested in house assemblies whose seats range from twenty-four to forty members depending on the population of a particular state.[5]

The federal executive power is vested in the president, vice-president, and members of the cabinet, whereas at the state level the same power is exercised by the governor, deputy governor, and commissioners of the government of the state.[6]

The judiciary consists of constitutionally formed courts and other courts.  The Nigerian Constitution established what are known as the superior courts of record: the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Court of Appeal, the Federal High Court, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja), the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, the Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, a High Court of a State, a Sharia Court of Appeal of a State, and a Customary Court of Appeal of a State.[7]  The Constitution permits the federal and state legislatures to establish additional, subordinate courts.[8] 

This report focuses on the powers of the federal government in times of public health crises.  However, it is important to note that state and local governments do play a key role in matters of public health crisis management.  This is particularly true with regard to the issues of disease surveillance and notification systems.  Nigeria’s National Policy on Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (ISDR) states that the country’s surveillance structure involves the active participation of the three tiers of government and assigns each a specific role in the process of identifying and reporting epidemic-prone diseases (including cholera, meningitis, viral hemorrhagic fevers, and human influenza) and notifiable diseases.[9]  For instance, it requires local and state governments to report data collected on epidemic-prone diseases on a weekly basis.[10]    

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II.  Applicable Law

Two sources of legal authority authorize the federal government to take preventative and suppression measures in anticipation of, or during, a public health crisis.  The Constitution, which empowers the president to declare a public emergency and curtail certain individual rights (including the right to personal liberty and property) is one source of authority (see discussion, Part III, below). The second is the statutory regime.  The 1926 federal Quarantine Act, which remains in force today, is the primary law governing matters concerning public health crises in Nigeria.[11]  It is based on the exclusive legislative jurisdiction accorded to the federal government under the Constitution on issues of “quarantine” and “[a]ny matter incidental or supplementary” to it.[12]

The current statutory legal regime is likely to change soon.  The upper chamber of the country’s legislative body is currently considering a bill, the Nigerian Public Health Bill (SB 210), aimed at replacing the Quarantine Act (see discussion, Part VI, below).[13]  SB 210, having passed first and second readings in the Chamber on October 2012 and April 2013, respectively, was referred to the Health and Agriculture Committee.[14]  Before it can become law, the bill will need to pass a third reading in the Senate, be passed by the House of Representatives, and be signed by the country’s President.[15]

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III.  Powers of National Public Authorities

A.  Constitutional Powers

1. Executive Powers

The President is authorized to unilaterally or at the request of a state governor declare a state of emergency in certain instances, including when

  1. . . .
  2. (c) there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the Federation or any part thereof to such extent as to require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security;
  3. (d) there is a clear and present danger of an actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the Federation or any part thereof requiring extraordinary measures to avert such danger;
  4. (e) there is an occurrence or imminent danger, or the occurrence of any disaster or natural calamity, affecting the community or a section of the community in the Federation; [or]
  5. (f) there is any other public danger which clearly constitutes a threat to the existence of the Federation . . . .[16]

The declaration of a state of emergency must be published in the country’s Official Gazette, and the President is required to immediately notify the Speaker of the House Representatives and the President of the Senate.[17]  Once in place, a state of emergency can be terminated

  • if the President revokes it;
  • if it is not subsequently endorsed by the federal legislature within two days of its declaration when the legislature is in session or within ten days otherwise;
  • after six months of its declaration, but the legislature may extend it for another six-month term; or
  • if the legislature, having initially endorsed or extended the declaration, at any time revokes it by a vote of a simple majority in both houses.[18]

The consequences of declaring a state of emergency may take one of two forms.  First, the country’s legislature may adopt laws that curtail certain fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution (see discussion, Part III(A)(2), below).  It may also allow the executive to take certain actions that restrict such constitutional rights.  For instance, the Constitution appears to permit the executive to temporarily suspend the constitutional protection against forced or compulsory labor “in the event of any emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being of the community.”[19]  It is conceivable that this authority could be used to ensure that hospitals and health centers are properly staffed during an outbreak of a deadly infectious disease like Ebola.

President Goodluck Jonathan recently exercised his authority to declare the control and containment of the Ebola virus a national emergency, following the confirmation of seven infections in the country.[20]  President Jonathan directed all relevant federal and state authorities to work in concert to make sure that all necessary steps were taken to suppress the spread of Ebola.[21]  In addition, he approved a Special Intervention Plan and the immediate release of NGN 1.9 billion (about US$11.5 million) to fight the virus, fast-tracking the disbursement of funds for Ebola containment efforts.[22]  However, no information was located indicating that this authority was used to curtail any constitutionally guaranteed rights. 

2. Legislative Powers

As noted above, the declaration of a state of emergency permits the legislature to pass laws that may otherwise be unconstitutional.  The Constitution permits the adoption of a law limiting certain constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights if it is “reasonably justifiable” and done “in the interest of . . . public health.”[23]  Such a law may impose limitations on the right to privacy; the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; the right to freedom of expression and the press; the right to peaceful assembly and association; and the right to freedom of movement.[24] 

Similarly, the Constitution allows the adoption of a law for the compulsory acquisition of movable or immovable property “that is in a dangerous state or is injurious to the health of human beings.”[25]  In addition, the Constitution permits the adoption of a law imposing restrictions on a person’s personal liberty if the person is “suffering from infectious or contagious disease . . . [,] for the purpose of [the person’s] care or treatment or the protection of the community.”[26]

These constitutional provisions provide the authority for the imposition of statutory limitations on rights otherwise protected under the Constitution during public health crises.  This justifies the restrictions imposed on any of the above-stipulated, constitutionally guaranteed rights by the current statutory regime, the Quarantine Act, or any other similar law that may be enacted in the future.

B.  Statutory Regime

1. General Provisions

As noted above, the Quarantine Act (the Act) is the primary law governing the prevention and suppression of dangerous infectious diseases.  The Act states that it is intended to regulate “the imposition of quarantine and to make other provisions for preventing the introduction into and spread in Nigeria, and the transmission from Nigeria, of dangerous infectious diseases.”[27]  This includes “cholera, plague, yellow fever, smallpox and typhus.”[28]  In addition, the Act authorizes the President to declare any infectious or contagious disease as a dangerous infectious disease, an authority apparently used at least once in the past to categorize sleeping sickness as a dangerous infectious disease.[29]  Similarly, the Act authorizes the President to declare any place in or outside of Nigeria to be an infected local area.[30]

The Act further authorizes the President to issue regulations for the purpose of preventing or suppressing a dangerous infectious disease in an infected local area, any other area in Nigeria, or any area outside of Nigeria, stating as follows:

The President may make regulations for all or any of the following purposes –

  1. (a) prescribing the steps to be taken within Nigeria upon any place, whether within or without Nigeria, being declared to be an infected local area;
  2. (b) prescribing the introduction of any dangerous infectious disease into Nigeria or any part thereof from any place without Nigeria, whether such place is an infected local area or not;
  3. (c) preventing the spread of any dangerous infectious disease from any place within Nigeria, whether an infected local area or not, to any other place within Nigeria;
  4. (d) preventing the transmission of any dangerous infectious disease from Nigeria or from any place within Nigeria, whether an infected local area or not, to any place without Nigeria;
  5. (e) prescribing the powers and duties of such officers as may be charged with carrying out such regulations;
  6. (f) fixing the fees and charges to be paid for any matter or thing to be done under such regulations, and prescribing the persons by whom such fees and charges shall be paid, and the persons by whom the expenses of carrying out any such regulations shall be borne, and the persons from whom any such expenses incurred by the Government may be recovered;
  7. (g) generally for carrying out the purposes and provisions of this Act.[31]

State governors are accorded the same powers as the President to categorize diseases as dangerous infectious diseases, declare a particular location an infected local area, or issue regulations for any of the above-stipulated purposes in the absence of presidential action on a particular matter.[32]

Only one set of regulations, the Quarantine (Ships) Regulations have been issued under this authority to date at the national level.[33]  No relevant document issued at the state level was located.

2. Quarantine of Ships

The Quarantine (Ships) Regulations authorize a port health officer to take a number of measures for the purpose of prevention and suppression of infectious diseases.  Whenever a person in a ship[34] approaching Nigeria is suffering from an infectious disease or there is suspicion of the presence of an infectious disease onboard, the master must contact the port health authority and provide a specific list of information necessary for the officer to determine, among others, the gravity and origin of an infection, if any.[35]  The officer may clear the ship to proceed to its intended destination if, on the basis of the information provided by the master, he is satisfied that the arrival of the ship will not result in the spread of an infectious disease.[36]  Until and unless the ship is given clearance, no one may board or leave the ship without the permission of the officer except the pilot.[37]

While the port health officer is authorized to inspect any ship already in the port or on arrival, he is required to inspect all ships that contacted the port health authority about the possible presence of an infectious disease onboard or any other ship present that he has reasonable grounds to believe is carrying a “quarantinable disease.”[38]  The master of the ship is required to fully cooperate with the officer, including by answering all questions regarding health conditions on board the ship and notifying him of anything that may lead to an infection or the spread of a quarantinable disease.[39]

A ship, which before its arrival had called at a foreign port, is subject to additional requirements.  Such ship must submit what is known as the maritime declaration of health (MDH), in a form specified by World Health Organization (WHO) Regulation No. 2, which must be countersigned by the ship’s surgeon if it has one.[40]  The form requires the listing of all ports of call and contains a number of questions including whether, during the voyage, there were suspected cases of an infectious disease or nonaccidental death.[41]  In addition to completing the MDH, the master must submit a Deratting Certificate or Deratting Exemption Certificate, issued under the International Sanitation Regulations.[42]  Failure to produce either certificate leads to an inspection by the port health officer.[43]

If the port health officer has reason to believe that a ship may be an “infected ship”[44] or a “suspected ship,”[45] or has experienced a case of quarantinable disease in the last four weeks before its arrival and was not granted clearance in another port, he may direct the ship to a desirable mooring station and must inspect it and everyone onboard.[46]  If, upon inspection, the officer discovers that what are known as “additional measures”[47] are required, he may detain the ship in the same place or at another location for as long as needed for the application of the necessary measures.[48]  For instance, if a ship is suspected of being infected with cholera, the officer may place anyone who disembarks from the ship under surveillance, require the disinfection of any contaminated area of the ship or article onboard, and/or require the disinfection or removal of any contaminated water onboard.[49]

The port health officer may, on his own volition or upon the request of the master (in which case it is a requirement), examine a person onboard a ship if the person is suffering from an infectious disease or tuberculosis, or has been exposed to an infectious disease. [50]  The officer may take a number of actions, including detaining the person for examination in the ship or another location, ordering the person and his belongings to be disinfected, or restricting his movements.[51]

If the Minister of Health notifies the port health officer of a “grave danger to public health” due to an outbreak of an infectious disease in an area where a ship is docked, the officer is authorized to require anyone disembarking from the ship to provide his personal information and the areas he intends to visit.[52]

In addition to quarantinable diseases, the Regulations require that additional measures (measures stipulated under Schedule Five of the Regulations) be applied to the following:

  1. (a) any infected or suspected ships;
  2. (b) any ship on which there is a case of typhus or relapsing fever;
  3. (c) any ship which has during its voyage been in a local area infected with cholera, plague or yellow fever;
  4. (d) any suspect for smallpox on a ship other than an infected ship;
  5. (e) any person on any ship which has come from an area infected with typhus or relapsing fever;
  6. (f) any ship or any person on board, when the port health officer is satisfied that,

notwithstanding the application of sanitary measures to that ship or person at a previous port, an incident has occurred since such previous application which makes it necessary again to apply additional measures, or when the medical officer has definite evidence that the previous measures applied were not substantially effective.[53]

In addition, the Regulations impose a number of requirements and procedures relating to the prevention and suppression of infectious diseases in relation to outgoing ships.[54]

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IV.  Transparency of the Public Health Management System

Under the current public health regulatory regime, transparency requirements are minimal.  Only two types of transparency requirements were located.  One mandates that the President (with regard to the declaration of a state of emergency) or the Minister of Health (with regard to the declaration of a particular location as an infected area) issue a public notice via the Official Gazette.[55]  The other, which forms part of the country’s obligation as a WHO member state, requires that Nigeria notify the WHO of any event that constitutes a public health emergency within twenty-four hours of the assessment of such event.[56]

If the recent Ebola outbreak is any indication, the question of transparency is not a problem in Nigeria.  The country’s Ministry of Health created a web page dedicated to informing the public about Ebola, including what the virus is, how it spreads, and signs and symptoms of infection.[57]  In addition, the Ministry issued multiple press releases to inform the public about the status of the virus in the country.[58]  In fact, a successful information campaign by the government, intended both to educate the public about the disease and inform the public of actions the government was taking for its suppression, is said to have contributed to the country’s success in curbing the outbreak.[59] 

It is important to note that, if adopted in its current form, SB 210 would require the development of guidelines on mechanisms to communicate with and inform the public during public health crises (see discussion, Part VI, below).  It would also mandate that the public health authority provide information to the public regarding

  • the declaration or termination of a state of public health emergency,
  • the precautions that members of the public need to take in order to protect themselves from the prevailing danger that caused the emergency, and
  • the actions that the relevant authorities are taking to address the emergency.[60]

In addition, it would require that the information be disseminated via all of the available modes of communication and languages accessible to the general public, including to individuals with disabilities.[61]

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V.  Cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO)

Nigeria is a member country of both the WHO and the International Health Regulations (IHR).[62]  As such, Nigeria is bound by the requirements under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005), an international legal instrument aimed at preventing the spread of disease.[63]  Among others, the IHR require Nigeria “to develop, strengthen and maintain . . . the capacity to detect, assess, notify ad report” outbreaks of infectious diseases.[64]  According to the WHO Country Cooperation Strategy 2008–2013, strengthening Nigeria’s integrated disease surveillance and response and building the capacity of public health facilities for disease control and eradication efforts are among the main focus areas of cooperation with Nigeria.[65]

In addition, as a member of the WHO and the IHR, Nigeria must cooperate with the WHO by meeting its obligations under the IHR, including a requirement to notify the WHO of any event that constitutes a public health emergency within twenty-four hours of assessment of such event.[66]

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VI.  Recent Developments

A.  Legislative Reform

Nigeria is in the process of reforming its public health crisis legal framework, which is currently governed under a 1926 law.  As indicated above, the Public Health Bill (SB 210), aimed at replacing the current health crisis management regulatory regime, is pending in the upper chamber of the country’s National Assembly.

A notable provision of SB 210 would establish a public health emergency planning body, the Public Health Emergency Planning Commission.  Staffed through presidential appointments, the Commission would prepare a plan for the prevention and suppression of a host of public health emergencies.[67]  Its plan would include requirements or guidelines, including on

  • communication with and notification of the public during a public health crisis;
  • coordinating responses of the different tiers of government during a public health crisis;
  • the evacuation and temporary relocation of communities during a public health crisis;
  • providing training to public health workers to diagnose and treat infectious diseases; and
  • ensuring that all levels of government have made adequate preparations for public health crises, including identifying isolation or quarantine locations, locations for housing and feeding health workers, locations for distributing food to the public, and routes and means of public and material transportation.[68]

Another notable provision seeks to impose a strict reporting requirement, including on all health care providers,[69] coroners, pathologists, and medical examiners, with regard to any disease or illness that may cause a public health emergency.[70]  It mandates that any one of the listed professionals who comes across any disease or illness that could possibly cause a public health emergency report it to the public health authority in a prescribed format either electronically or in writing.[71]  The same requirements apply to individuals who deal with animals, including veterinarians, livestock owners, and laboratory technicians.[72]

Also notable is part IV of SB 210, which deals with the power of the president to declare a public health emergency, including the mechanics for and consequences of such action.  The president may declare a public health emergency whenever there is “an occurrence or imminent threat of an illness or health condition that . . . is believed to be caused by . . . bioterrorism [or] the appearance of [an] . . . infectious agent or biological toxin” that poses a “high probability” of harm to the public.[73]  In such instances, the President may declare a public health emergency for a thirty-day period, which he may renew for an indefinite number of thirty-day terms; however, the legislature may terminate the declaration at any time with a simple majority vote if convinced that the underlying threat to public health no longer exists.[74]

A declaration of a public health emergency accords the president certain emergency powers, including the power to suspend laws imposing procedures for the normal functioning of state bodies, and to mobilize “any part of the organized forces.”[75]  It also authorizes the public health authorities to take certain measures with regard to management of property and protection of persons.[76]  For instance, the public authority would have the power to isolate[77] or quarantine[78] individuals or groups, and the failure to follow isolation or quarantine orders would constitute a crime.[79] 

The provisions on isolation or quarantine include language for the protection of subjects of such actions.  These include the requirement that isolation or quarantine must be imposed in the least restrictive manner and that it must automatically end upon the determination that the person or persons no longer pose a risk of transmission.[80]  While SB 210 would allow the public health authority to unilaterally impose a temporary isolation or quarantine in situations in which delay would “significantly jeopardize . . . [its] ability to prevent or limit the transmission of a contagious or possibly contagious disease to others,” extended isolation or quarantine would be subject to judicial oversight.[81]  

B.  Ebola Outbreak

The most recent public health crisis in Nigeria came in the form of an Ebola outbreak in two sites in the country.  The primary (index) outbreak occurred in Lagos when on July 20, 2014, a person who had contracted the virus in Liberia arrived at the Lagos International Airport.[82]  This primary patient was suspected of having potentially exposed seventy-two individuals.[83]  The second outbreak occurred in Port Harcourt when the close contact of the primary patient who was under quarantine in Lagos travelled to seek medical attention from a private physician in August 1, 2014.[84]  By the time the WHO officially declared Nigeria Ebola free on October 20, 2014, a total of nineteen individuals had been infected with the disease, seven (40%) of whom died.[85]

This was potentially catastrophic in large part because Lagos is far from being an ideal place to contain an infectious disease.  Home to twenty-one million people, most of whom live in crowded and unsanitary slums, Lagos is the largest city in Africa.[86]  Lagos’s population is as large as the total combined populations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the three West African countries hardest hit by the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the region.[87]  In addition, with its air, land, and sea ports of entry, Lagos is the region’s transit hub.[88]  

According to commentators, these factors make the swift containment of the spread of Ebola in Nigeria with only a few victims a great success story.  Sources indicate that this was possible because Nigeria mobilized its resources and took the necessary suppression measures quickly and efficiently.  Following the confirmation of the first Ebola case, the Ministry of Health, with the help of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) declared an Ebola Emergency.[89]  Nigeria moved quickly to activate the Incident Management Center (now the Emergency Operations Center, EOC) to respond to the outbreak.[90]  The EOC, as the implementing arm of the national response to the Ebola outbreak, expanded its work beyond Lagos, specifically to Rivers State (where Port Harcourt is located) and Enugu State (for the purpose of monitoring people who had come into contact with the primary patient).[91]  Nigeria identified 894 persons who had come into contact with an infected person and contact tracers conducted over 18,000 face-to-face interviews.[92]  Individuals suspected of an infection were isolated and those with confirmed cases of an infection were sent to facilities in Lagos and Port Harcourt.[93]

According to the WHO, Nigeria’s performance in curbing the spread of Ebola is attributable to a number of factors including

  • rapid utilization of public institutions and prompt establishment of an EOC;
  • availability of a “first-rate virology laboratory” to make quick and reliable diagnoses;
  • availability of qualified contact-tracers who were able to detect infections early and isolate suspected cases;
  • full attention of the country’s leadership, including that of the head of state;
  • generous allocation of resources and their quick disbursement;
  • effective public communication campaigns; and 
  • experience accumulated fighting previous outbreaks such as polio.[94]

As at the date of this report, no new cases of infection have emerged in Lagos or Port Harcourt since August 18 and August 31, 2014, respectively.[95]  As noted above, the WHO declared Nigeria Ebola free on October 20, 2014.  However, the fact that the Ebola outbreak in the region remains uncontained coupled with Nigeria’s geographic proximity to the hardest-hit countries and its extensive borders make Nigeria vulnerable to additional cases.[96]

Prepared by Hanibal Goitom
Foreign Law Specialist
February 2015

[1] Nigeria, United Nations Data, (last visited Oct. 28, 2014). 

[2] These are: Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara.  Constitution of Nigeria (1999), § 3(1), available on the International Centre for Nigerian Law (ICFNL), at OfTheFederalRepublicOfNigeria.htm

[3] Id.

[4] Id. §§ 4, 47, 48 & 49.

[5] Id. §§ 4, 90 & 91.

[6] Id. § 5.

[7] Id. § 6.

[8] Id.

[9] Federal Ministry of Health, National Policy on Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) 3, 5, 13 & 14 (Dec. 2010),

[10] Id. at 13, 17 & 27.

[11] Quarantine Act of 1926, 14 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, Cap. Q2 (rev. ed. 2004), available on the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) website, at also Oluchi Aniaka, Law and Ethics of Ebola Outbreak in Nigeria 2 (Canadian Institute of Health Research, Aug. 8, 2014), available on the Social Science Research Network, at (access restricted).

[12]Quarantine Act of 1926 § 4.

[13] Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigeria Public Health (Quarantine, Isolation and Emergency Health Matters Procedure) Act . . . (Public Health Bill) (2013), available on the Nigerian Senate website, at http://www.nassnig. org/nass/legislation.php?id=1316.

[14] Senate Bill Charts, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), (last visited Oct. 29, 2014).

[15] Constitution of Nigeria § 58; Senate Standing Orders 2007 as Amended § 86, available on Senator Ayo Arise’s website, at (click on upper-left link to Constitution). 

[16] Constitution of Nigeria § 305.

[17] Id.

[18] Id.

[19] Id. § 34.

[20] Nigeria’s Jonathan Declares State of Emergency over Ebola, Reuters (Aug. 8, 2014), article/2014/08/08/us-health-ebola-nigeria-jonathan-idUSKBN0G81WB20140808; Ebola: Jonathan Declares National Emergency, Approves N2BN Special Intervention Fund, Embassy of Nigeria, Seoul South Korea (Aug. 21, 2014),

[21] Embassy of Nigeria, Seoul South Korea, supra note 20.

[22] Id.

[23] Constitution of Nigeria § 45(1)(a).

[24] Id.

[25] Id. § 44(2)(f).

[26] Id. § 35(1)(e).

[27] Quarantine Act of 1926, pmbl., 14 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, Cap. Q2 (rev. ed. 2004), available at

[28] Id. § 2.

[29] Id.; Subsidiary Legislation, Declaration of Dangerous Infectious Disease, available at new/laws/Q2.pdf (scroll to “Subsidiary Legislation,” page 3).

[30] Quarantine Act of 1926 § 2.

[31] Id. § 4.

[32] Id. § 8.

[33] Aniaka, supra note 11, at 11.

[34] A ship includes any “sea-going or . . . inland navigation vessel making an international voyage.”  Quarantine (Ships) Regulations § 2, Quarantine Act–Subsidiary Legislation.

[35] Quarantine (Ships) Regulations § 10, Quarantine Act–Subsidiary Legislation.

[36] Id. § 9.

[37] Id. § 14.

[38] Id. § 3.  A quarantinable disease includes “cholera, plague, relapsing fever, smallpox, typhus or yellow fever.”   Id. § 2.

[39] Id. § 4.

[40] Id. § 12. 

[41] Id.

42] Id. § 14.

[43] Id.

[44] An “infected ship” is

  1. (a) a ship which has on board on arrival a case of human cholera, plague, small-pox or yellow fever;
  2. (b) a ship on which a plague-infected rodent is found on arrival; or
  3. (c) a ship which has had on board during its voyage-
    1. i.a a case of cholera within five days before arrival; or
    2. ii.a a case of human plague developed by the person more than six days after his embarkation; or
    3. iii.a a case of yellow fever or smallpox, and which has not before arrival been subjected in respect of such case to appropriate measures equivalent to those provided for in these Regulations.”  Id. § 2.

[45] A “suspected ship” is defined as

  1. (a) a ship which has had on board during the voyage a case of cholera more than five days before arrival; or
  2. (b) a ship which, not having on board on arrival, a case of human plague, has had on board during the voyage a case of that disease developed by the person within six days of his embarkation; or
  3. (c) a ship which left within six days before arrival an area infected with yellow fever:

Provided that a ship to which the foregoing paragraph (a) or (b) applies shall not be deemed to be a suspected ship if in respect of such case of human cholera or plague, as the case may be, the ship has before arrival been subjected to appropriate measures equivalent to those provided for in these Regulations.”  Id. § 2.

[46] Id. § 15.

[47] Additional measures are stipulated in Schedule Five of the Regulations and are tailored to specific quarantinable diseases.  Id.

[48] Id.

[49] Id.

[50] Id. § 17.

[51] Id.

[52] Id. § 19.

[53] Id. § 20.

[54] Id. §§ 21 & 22.

[55] Constitution of Nigeria § 305; Quarantine Act of 1926 § 22, 14 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, Cap. Q2 (rev. ed. 2004), available at

[56] WHO, International Health Regulations (IHR) art. 6 (2d ed. 2005), 89241580410_eng.pdf?ua=1.

[57] Ebola Virus Information Unit, (last visited Nov. 3, 2014).

[58] Press Releases, Federal Ministry of Health, (last visited Nov. 3, 2014).

[59] Nigeria Is Now Free of Ebola Virus Transmission, WHO (Oct. 20, 2014), ebola/20-october-2014/en/.

[60] Public Health Bill § 29, available at

[61] Id.

[62] Alphabetical List of WHO Member States, WHO, (last visited Oct. 31, 2014); IHR, supra note 56, App. 1.

[63] WHO, International Health Regulations (2005): A Brief Introduction to Implementation in National Legislation 1 (Jan. 2009),; IHR, supra note 56, App. 1; Countries, WHO, (last visited Oct. 24, 2014).  

[64] IHR, supra note 56, § 5.

[65] WHO, WHO Country Cooperation Strategy 2008–2013: Nigeria 6 & 24 (2009), countryfocus/cooperation_strategy/ccs_nga_en.pdf

[66] IHR, supra note 56, art. 6.

[67] Public Health Bill §§ 5 & 6, available at

[68] Id. § 6.

[69] A health care provider is “any person or entity who provides health care services including, but not limited to, hospitals, medical clinics and offices, special care facilities, medical laboratories, physicians, pharmacists, dentists, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners, registered and other nurses, paramedics, emergency medical or laboratory technicians, and ambulance and emergency medical workers.”  Id. § 3. 

[70] Id. § 7.

[71] Id.

[72] Id.

[73] Id. §§ 3(m) & 10.

[74] Id. § 14.

[75] Id. § 12.

[76] Id. §§ 15–29.

[77] “Isolation” is defined as the “physical separation and confinement of an individual or groups of individuals who are infected or reasonably believed to be infected with a contagious or possibly contagious disease from non-isolated individuals.”  Id. § 3.

[78] “Quarantine” is defined as “the physical separation and confinement of an individual or group of individuals, who are or may have been exposed to a contagious or possibly contagious disease and who do not show signs of symptoms of a contagious disease, from non-quarantined individuals, to prevent or limit the transmission of the disease to non-quarantined individuals.”  Id. § 3.

[79] Id. § 25.

[80] Id.

[81] Id. § 26.

[82] Faisal Shuaib et al., Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak – Nigeria, July–September 2014, 63(39) Mortality & Morbidity Weekly Report (MMWR) 1 (Oct. 3, 2014), available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, at

[83] Id.

[84] Ebola Situation in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, WHO (Sept. 3, 2014),

[85] WHO, supra note 59. 

[86] Population, Lagos State Government, (last visited Nov. 3, 2014); WHO, supra note 59; Urban Slums in Lagos ‘Mega City’, Vanguard (Jan. 11, 2014),; Nigeria: Lagos, The Mega-City of Slums, IRINNEWS (Sept. 5, 2006),

[87] WHO, supra note 59.

[88] Shuaib et al., supra note 82, at 3.

[89] Id. at 1.

[90] Id. at 3.

[91] Id.

[92] Id. at 2.

[93] Id. at 2.

[94] WHO, supra note 59, at 2.

[95] Shuaib et al., supra note 82, at 3.

[96] WHO: Nigeria is Free of Ebola but Must Remain Vigilant for New Cases, The Guardian (Oct. 20, 2014),; Okon Bassey, Health Minister Reiterates Need for Vigilance Despite Clean Bill, allAfrica (Nov. 2, 2014),

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Last Updated: 06/09/2015