Court stops Reps from passing Infectious Diseases Bill, summons Gbajabiamila,Malami, 2 others

Justice Ifeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered the House of Representatives to maintain status quo on the Infectious Diseases Bill which has passed second reading at the lower legislative chamber.

The judge also summoned the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila; the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN); the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and clerk of the National Assembly over the bill.

Gbajabiamila had earlier this month moved to repeal the Quarantine Act and enact the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill.

The bill seeks to prevent the introduction and spread of dangerous infectious diseases in the country.

It also seeks to, among others, make possession of health card mandatory for international travellers leaving or arriving in Nigeria — just like yellow fever card.

However, the bill has been heavily criticised 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 rights of Nigerians.

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A former senator representing the Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, had last week filed a suit against the National Assembly over the consideration of the bill.

In the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020 filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Melaye asked the court to stop the passage of the bill.

Justice Ojukwu, who ruled in a motion ex parte dated May 13, 2020, said “an order of this honourable court is hereby made mandating the respondents to appear before this court on May 20, 2020, to show cause why the application of this applicant should not be granted.

“Should the respondents fail to attend court on the date stated for the hearing on this matter, the reliefs sought ex parte shall be granted.”

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