- As bill passes second reading.
By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday passed for second reading a bill for an attorney repeal of the Quarantine Act 2004.
This will pave way for the enactment of the Control of Infectious Disease Bill, make provisions relating to quarantine and make regulations for preventing the introduction into and spread in Nigeria of dangerous infectious diseases and for related matters
The bill sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Femi Hon. Gbajabiamila and two others seeks to empower the NCDC and allow it to do its job.
Rep. Sergius Ogun in his opinion asked the House to think twice and avoid giving so many powers to the NCDC
He said Nigeria must be careful with vaccines and avoid any conspiracy.
Rep. Ossai Nicholas who was also in support of the second reading of the bill said all the clauses of the bill captures the need to treat and handle outbreaks urgently.
Section 47 and other sub section makes it mandatory at a time when there is an outbreak, the NCDC needs to swing into action
Bamidele Salam said he believes that the move of the bill meant well, but it is still possible that there are certain areas to be amended.
“How are we sure that immediately after the pandemic we will not go back again about the state of our health Institutions, adding that the appropriate committee should make.
“This is an emergency situation. The way we are sitting in the house have already defined the essence of the bill.
“Just like we handled the stimulus bill we should do same here, when the bill was about to take off it wasnt easy. Many people did not believe In the bill”
Another Lawmaker Abonta said direction is superior than speed. “I have seen the title of the bill and I have not seen the bill.
“We are all aware of what is awash in the social media.
Why am saying this is, I have seen the quarantine act, something bigger than disease control. We need a bill for control of prevention disease.What am trying to say is we should not becos of what we are trying to do and make big error.
“If we are going to do away with public hearing then we must seek for direction and not speed. The bill is a wrong timing.
Please lets apply restraint on the speed,” he said
But the Speaker rose up to say drastic situation requires drastic measure.
Gbajabiamila in his response said the situation was not available for 360 “ if you look at the language of the bill the NCDC “may” be empowered .
“It is also not true to say public hearing is an integral part of every bill, but public hearing gives the people outside the opportunity to contribute.
“What this means is that the House will have to subject every bill to public hearing
“I thought we are here to address some very serious and important issues. This bill like ism said is to improve on what we have
“The essence of the bill is what we should keep our focus on and work out the details and I plead that we pass this bill and send it to the Senate.
“The question was put by the Deputy speaker with the Neys and referred to the committee of the whole” he said.