257 views | Victor Gai | May 7, 2020
The controversial Infectious Diseases Bill has been described as “superfluous, illegal, unconstitutional” and an attempt to “subvert the federal system of government”.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana stated this during the program Politics Today on Channels TV.
“It is pertinent to inform you that in November 2018, a law was enacted in this country- The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Act which has taken care of infectious diseases.
“Infact, it is misleading on the part of the House of Representatives, to say that it is amending the 1926 Quarantine Act.
“Between 1926 and now, you had the 2018 Act which had taken care of the entire provision of the new Bill.
“So, the new Bill as far as the law is concerned is superfluous. Its provision is illegal and unconstitutional”, he stated.
He also added that the proposed law was in breach of the citizen’s rights to acquire property and a usurpation of the powers of elected persons by an appointee.
“You can’t for instance, acquire a place and turn it into an isolation centre; you must negotiate with the owner because, under Section 43 of the constitution, I have right to acquire property in any part of Nigeria.
“Secondly, you are saying you are taking over the powers vested in the President and the governors under the Quarantine Act and you want to concentrate those powers on an appointed official; that is the Director-General of the NCDC. Again this is a subversion of the federal system of government whereby State governors are in charge of their states, while the President is in charge of the entire federation. So powers conferred on them as political leaders cannot be transferred to an individual who has not been elected by the Nigerian people”.
Falana, who is the Chairman, Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, also expressed his fears on the easing of lockdown on Lagos, FCT and Ogun and that the increasing cases meant that “government would have to review its entire strategy”.
“Whereas we would have expected the National Assembly by now to be addressing the challenges of the collapse of our public health system i.e appropriate money to fix our hospitals, medical centres in the country so that we can be prepared for any eventuality.
“God forbid, if anything happens in this country today, we are not prepared. That is why the NCDC is saying the isolation centres are not there. We are asking people to donate their buildings. There are no beds in the isolation centres. It is not enough to lockdown without palliatives”, he warned.