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Published On: Tue, Sep 23rd, 2014

Senate passes Public Health, Corporate Manslaughter Bills

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Nigerian-Senate-1By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

After a long sojourn through legislative cycle, the Senate has finally passed for third and final reading, a Bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria Public health (quarantine, isolation and emergency health procedures).

This is even as the upper legislative house also yesterday passed for third reading, a bill for an Act to create the Offence for Corporate Manslaughter.

The Nigeria Public Health Bill was expeditiously passed by the Senate after a clause by clause consideration, which came on the heels of the Ebola virus that recently arose in some parts of the country, until it was recently brought under control.

The Act aims at developing a comprehensive plan to provide for a coordinated, appropriate response in the event of a public health emergency, which is in addition to facilitating the early detection of a health emergency and allow for immediate investigation of such emergency by gaining access to individual’s health information under specified circumstances.

The Act if signed by President Goodluck Jonathan will empower the federal and state officials to use appropriate property as necessary for the treatment, vaccination and housing of patients and to destroy contaminated facilities or materials.

“To grant state and local officials the authority to provide care, treatment and vaccination to persons who are ill or who have been exposed to contagious disease and to separate affected individuals from the population at large to interrupt disease transmission”, the Bill said.

Rounding up debate, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, submitted that now that the Ebola disease have been contained, it is good to put this legislative law for the future.

He added that with the Bill, the relevant authorities will address similar emergency in the future especially now that legislation has been put in place to back their actions.

Meanwhile, on the Bill for an Act to create the Offence for Corporate Manslaughter, which was also passed by the Senate yesterday, the Senate has empowered the prosecution agencies in Nigeria to arrest and prosecute any corporate body whose negligence results in the death of any Nigerian.

“The Act creates the Offence of corporate manslaughter and makes corporate bodies and agencies liable for their acts of negligence, dereliction of duty or gross incompetence which causes the death of a person”, the Bill said.

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