The House of Representatives on Wednesday barred journalists from covering the public hearing on the controversial Control of Infectious Disease Bill.
According to reports, the journalists who went to cover the event were allegedly turned back by operatives of the Sergeant-at-Arms, acting on the instructions of the Chairman of the Health Services Committee, Tanko Sununu and the Committees Clerk, Joyce Umeru.
The bill which is sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamilla; Pascal Obi, Chairman, House Committee on Health Institutions; and Tanko Sununu, Chairman of the Committee on Health Services, seeks to repeal the Quarantine Act and enact the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, make provisions relating to quarantine and make regulations for preventing the introduction into and spread in Nigeria of dangerous infectious diseases, and for other related matters.
The Bill has been heavily criticised, particularly for giving too much powers to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in the management of infectious diseases and pandemic in the country in ways that could infringe on the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
However, Nigerian Television (NTA) and Channels Television were invited to cover the public hearing.