Pandemics occur periodically. In recent history, the world has experienced pandemics triggered by the Novel Influenza A virus (H1N1, swine flu), Ebola virus, H2N2 Asian influenza and now Novel Corona Virus (covid-19). In a bid to contain these pandemics governments sometimes adopt measures that threaten to infringe and sometimes infringe on the right to life of citizens. Some of these governmental actions include lockdowns that prevent people from trading, forced quarantine of citizens, and forced administration of medical care. From a jurisprudential perspective, this paper interrogates these governmental actions against the rights of citizens to life, which arguably should include the right to earn a decent living and the right to die, if one desires to. This paper argues that although the right to life of every individual is sacrosanct, where the exercise of that right threatens to endanger society, the interest of the larger society will prevail above the right to life of any individual.
Authors: Claribel Diebo Fab-Eme, Victoria Onengiyeofori Bob-Manuel