Infectious Disease Bill by infected lawmakers

The latest controversial bill in the chronicle of the 9th National Assembly, with the pretext of adopting measures to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, such as the Corona virus, which has killed thousands of people and damaged the economy of many nations of the world, one more instead shows the degree to which the “disease of drunken power” has deeply devoured the fabric of the Nigerian democratic ethos.

On April 28, 2020, the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Femi Gbajabiamila, and two of his colleagues Pascal Obi and Tanko Sununu, sponsored a bill that aims to enable the Federal Government to convert any property in the country, including private properties, into isolation centers. The bill, entitled & # 39; Infectious Disease Control Bill 2020 & # 39;, quickly passed the first and second readings on the same day, thus creating great suspicion among Nigerians.


In fact, for some people, the bill was secretly motivated by foreign powers to use Nigeria as a testing ground for the COVID-19 vaccine when it was finally discovered. While some see it as part of the manifestations of the "power drunk syndrome", which is an integral part of the 9th National Assembly before the outbreak of COVID-19.

Similarly, some expressed the view that the project was plagiarized by Singapore law, in the same way that the anti-social media project was imported from the same country before it fell silently into the trash of history after so much criticism.

Meanwhile, project sponsors have alluded to the archaic nature of the Quarantine Law and the inability of the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) in the war against COVID-19, especially considering the number of patients who escaped from isolation across the country. the country as the reason for the proposal.


However, looking at some of the clauses contained in the bill, the bill seems inadequate for a democratic country like Nigeria. Part of the clauses that appear to be draconian are sections 15, 79, 13, among others that deny some of the fundamental human rights set out in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

For example, section 15 (1) of the bill gives the Minister of Health the right to declare any facilities as an isolation center without providing an alternative to the owner, should the owner find it difficult to find a place to stay after the seizure.


A similar provision is in subsection (4) (5) (6), which empowers the Director-General, health worker and police to the point of arresting anyone who leaves or attempts to leave or is suspected of having left an isolation area in contravention of an order under subsection (3) without an arrest warrant.

Similarly, Section 79 (3), which prescribes a fine of N500,000 and six months in prison for people who violate the quarantine restriction or refuse to be vaccinated in the event of an outbreak or suspected infectious disease in the Nigeria, like the devastating COVID-19 without considering the circumstances that may have driven the person's behavior.

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This is likely to be part of the reasons why a former Kogi state senator, Dino Malaye, when viewing the documents of the legal actions taken against the National Assembly in relation to the bill in its handles on Twitter, described the project as a law project.


In a democratic society like Nigeria, where the situation of the people should be the driving force behind the action and inaction of parliamentarians, this type of law should not have reached the plenary of the National Assembly, let alone flee first and second readings.


However, part of the responsibilities of the National Assembly is to create laws that generate a healthy life, but looking at the high level of poverty on earth, the first issue that must be at the head of the National Assembly is “Anti-Poverty Bill” because most people who violate the government directive did so in the search for daily bread.

In particular, deducing from the comments made by some of the Patients with Covid-19 who have left their isolation centers to protest the ill-treatment received from the Gombe state government in recent times.

The same applies to most heads of households in isolation centers who never face this pandemic, but find themselves in the isolation center with no tangible palliative from the government to care for those who stay at home.

Most civil servants are obeying the blockade and stay at home by the government because they know that at the end of the month their salary will be paid. Otherwise, the story would have been a different game.

Therefore, lawmakers must replace the bill's draconian clauses with tangible palliatives that can support the infected person's family, especially during the period in the isolation center, rather than creating an avenue for desperate politicians to punish or arrest the criminal. enemy or opposition, even on the eve of the election, under the guise of infectious disease control.

Author: Femi Oluwasanmi…

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