With zero COVID-19 cases President Bio declares State of Emergency in Sierra Leone.
His Excellency the President Julius Maada Bio has declared a 12 months States of Emergency effective immediately(24 March 2020). The declaration was done on the nations National Television Station, Sierra Leone Broadcasting Cooperation.
A state of emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to perform actions or impose policies that it would normally not be permitted to undertake. A government can make such declaration during a natural disaster, medical pandemic/epidemic, civil unrest, or armed conflict. Such declarations alert citizens to change their normal behavior and orders government agencies to implement emergency plans.
In his Excellency’s address he said the rapid global spread of the Coronavirus poses great risk to human life and can cause enormous Socio-Economic disruption in Sierra Leone. This situation he added will requires effective measures to prevent protect and curtail the spread of the coronavirus disease in Sierra Leone.
According to Subsection 1 of Section 29 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991, Act No. 6 of 199, gives the president mandate to declare a state of public emergency.
The public state of emergency declared today would be the second the president has declared since he was selected in 2018. The first state of public emergency was earlier last year February when President Bio declared rape a national emergency.
This is not the first time a sitting President of Sierra Leone has evoked a state of emergency. In 2014, former President Ernest Bai Koroma declared a State of Emergency during the Ebola Outbreak. In 2007 former President Ahmed Tejan Kabba also declared a State of Emergency before the 2007 election. In 1970/71, a state of public emergency was declared by President Siaka Stevens, in 1977, after students demonstrated against president Stevens at a graduation ceremony at Fourah Bay College, a state of public emergency was declared, and in 1978/79 President Siaka P. Stevens declared a state of public emergency because laborers were threatening to hold a nation wide strike.