CAN Wants Infectious Disease Bill to Undergo Public Hearing

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has kicked against the proposed bill on Infectious Disease Control in Nigeria sponsored by the Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.

The association in a letter dated May 4, 2020, signed by its General Secretary, Mr. Joseph Bade Daramola, questioned the bill and the rationale for the quick passage of the bill which seeks to prohibit and control infectious diseases, to be passed by the House of Representatives.

The umbrella body of Christians in the country gave reasons why the bill should not become a law.

Among the reasons given by CAN were that the new bill would adversely impinge on the civil and human rights of Nigerians.

It added that the proposed enactment would prevent Nigerians from having a say in their own affairs through the hasty and speedy manner in which the House is trying to make it a law.

Other reasons given by CAN for its position was that the vaccine bill gives: “too much powers to the Minister of Health and the Director General (DG) of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) almost to the exclusion of the judiciary in mediation; where the orders of the Minister of Health and the DG of NCDC appear to violate the fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution.

“Every Nigerian has the right to life, personal liberty and freedom from degrading and inhuman treatment, privacy, right to acquire and own property, freedom of movement, and freedom of religion, just to mention a few.

“These rights are held sacred and invaluable except on clearly defined occasions as provided for by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

CAN said the courts in Nigeria had on numerous occasions struck out Acts of the Parliament and Legislations including Executive Orders of Governments, which breach any of the fundamental human rights provided for in the constitution.

“CAN, therefore, advises the leadership and honourable members of the House to immediately allow the Spirit of God to prevail over these primordial intentions and ambition, and not to pass this controversial, nebulous and obnoxious bill into law in the overall interest of Nigerians.

“This bill is not what is currently being expected from the House of Representatives, rather, the development of the vaccines that will stop this COVID-19 pandemic from further killing our citizens,” it stated.

According to the association, the position of many Nigerians is that the lawmakers should not rush to pass the Infectious Disease Bill, even when the vaccine is not available yet.