The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Saturday opposed moves by the House of Representatives to pass the Infectious Disease Control Bill without recourse to public hearing to allow Nigerians participate in the process of making the law.
Those who sponsored the bill are the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Pascal Obi and Tanko Sununu.
Some of the controversial aspects of bill include section 23, which stipulates the “arrest of persons on the streets suffering from infectious diseases.
An enforcement officer, police officer or any authorised officer may apprehend and take, any person suffering from any infectious disease whom the officer finds on any street, public, place, shop or public transportation to a hospital.
Section 24, which empowers enforcement officer to order destruction of house, building or anything states:
(1) An enforcement officer may obtain an order of court to destroy any building in which a case of infectious disease has occurred, or of any article or thing, which may be considered necessary in the interest of the public health.
(2) Any such order will be carried out in such manner, and by such person, as the enforcement officer may direct.
It was, however, gathered that the Speaker insisted on abridging the House rules for a quicker passage of the bill.
But the PDP considered moves to shut out Nigerians from public debate on such a crucial legislation as ominous and raising suspicions of sinister objectives as the nation combats the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Ologbondiyan said the PDP was alarmed that such an approach was already worsening public mistrust in the polity as well as heightening apprehension over the intentions of the presiding officers of the House of Representatives and the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration at this critical time.
The PDP insisted that Nigerians must be carried along in the decision making process of such a critical legislation, which seeks to make provisions that would directly affect their health as well as the overall safety and wellbeing.
PDP stressed that anything short of that would be counter productive and capable of breeding an avoidable public resistance, especially, given the deepening fear and anxiety in the polity over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main opposition party, therefore, counseled Gbajabiamila to review his position and allow for public hearing on the bill.
“Our party also urges our lawmakers in both the House of Representatives and Senate to stand firm against the passage of the bill until there is a public hearing to get the inputs of Nigerians into the proposed law,” PDP stated.