*Mr. Femi Falana SAN
Human rights lawyer Mr. Femi Falana SAN has stated categorically that the efforts to replace the Quarantine Act was a waste of time as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Prevention Act of 2018 has taken care of what the lawmakers are trying to achieve. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria spoke on Channels Television on Wednesday.
The proposed Infectious Diseases Bill, which is co-sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, and two of his colleagues has been described as superfluous, illegal and unconstitutional. Mr Falana, who spoke about the controversial bill during an appearance, via Skype, on Politics Today, said, “It is pertinent to inform Nigerians that in November 2018, a law was enacted in this country – the NCDC Act. NCDC Act, which has taken care of infectious diseases in the country. So, it is not correct, in fact, it is misleading on the part of the House of Representatives to say that it is amending the 1926 Quarantine Act because there is already a development between 1926 and now. You had the 2018 Act, which has taken care of the entire provisions of the new bill. The new bill, as far as the law is concerned, is superfluous. Its provisions are largely illegal and unconstitutional,” Falana stated.
Some sections of the said Act show that the legislation empowers the NCDC to prevent, detect, monitor and control of national and international public health importance. The law also empowers the NCDC to develop and coordinate capabilities, measures and activities to control outbreaks and mitigate the health impact of public health disasters. As the country battles the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19), several measures have been implemented to halt the spread of the virus. According to the NCDC, the total number of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria now stands at 3,145 just as 534 have also recovered while 103 have also died.
Nigerians are also skeptical of Mr Gbajabiamila and his colleagues regarding their “urgent” interest and the speed at which they tried to smuggle the proposed bill across especially given the rumoured news that they may have collected money from Mr. Bill Gates, the American billionaire that is racing to force a vaccine on ignorant countries of the world. However, the speaker who has already bowed to public pressure said there was no truth in the supposed inducement from Bill Gates. The Speaker said the bill was conceived in public interest.