Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday justified Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020, insisting that it was initiated to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 on Nigerians.
Gbajabiamila added that the possible effects of the virus on the nation’s economy and the healthcare delivery system “are responsible for all the steps taken by the lower chamber in its bid to address the health crisis.”
He justified the bill in a statement his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Lanre Lasisi issued after the speaker participated in a virtual interactive session organised by Emmanuel Chapel on Friday
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi; Chief of Defence Training and Operations, Defence Headquarters, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor and Infectious and Tropical Disease Physician, Prof. Abdulrazaq Habib featured in the virtual session.
The session, which focussed on the State of Biosecurity: National Emergencies and COVID-19 Disruptions, was moderated by Bolanle Austen-Peters.
As shown in his statement, the speaker argued that the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 became imperative to address similar health challenges when they occur again in the country.
He said the passage of the first Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, Control of Infectious Diseases Bill and the second Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill which is about to be introduced, were all meant to successfully steer the country out of troubled waters that might follow the pandemic.
He said the passage of the first emergency economic stimulus bill and the introduction of the second document in a matter of weeks were meant to prepare for the shock that would trail the pandemic.
As countries are expected to run into recession, Gbajabiamila disclosed that the lower chamber would soon introduce a bill that would codify government’s Social Investment Programme (SIP) with a view to giving it legal backing.
He noted that the Social Investment Programm (SIP), which it had spent several billions of Naira on social interventions, should be institutionalized and backed by law.
He said it would be irresponsible for any legislature not to have speedily acted with dispatch in times of danger such as this” while speaking to the impression that the provisions in the CID Bill were strange and contradictory to the nation’s constitution.
The speaker explained the amendment to the 2020 Appropriation Act, which according to him, was brought to the lower chamber a couple of days ago.
He added that the amendment focused primarily on health infrastructure, assuring that there would be adequate funding and a lot of research will be going into it.
He stated: “The second Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill which is in the works right now, affects a lot more people (the middle class) so to speak, that should be on the table in a couple of weeks on the floor of the House.
“A lot is going on in the House, there is a lot of moving part, we can’t fix these in one day but as we continue with our post-Covid-19 team in the House of Representatives, we begin to channel legislations, which is our primary responsibility to deal with the disruptions of our daily lives.
“There’s a takeaway from this. In every bad experience, the most important thing is to learn from it and I think we all agreed that and on the same page that healthcare delivery infrastructure requires priority and a lot of work.
“These are all measures we have taken in the House to confront a monster, a very tiny monster but a monster nonetheless that has the potential of destroying the people and destroying our country and it’s a fact that we all must be a part of, it’s not just for the government but for every one of us.”