Controversial Disease Control Bill Passes First Reading In Senate

The Senate in session

By Deji Elumoye and Chuks Okocha

A similar version of the controversial Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) bill, which passed the second reading last week in the House of Representatives, on Tuesday passed the first reading in the Senate.

The bill, however, came to the Senate under another name, ‘National Health Emergency Bill, 2020’ and was sponsored by the Chairman of Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, Senator Chukwuka Utazi.

Despite the fact that the bill has been slated for a second reading next Tuesday by the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, the former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, kicked against the consideration of the bill on the ground that the draft copies had not been made available to senators to peruse.

Ekweremadu demanded the draft copy of the bill, which made the Senate President to direct the Clerk of the Senate, Nelson Ayewoh, to ensure distribution of copies of the bill to all the senators and ruled that the second reading would be taken next Tuesday.