Sen. Dino Melaye Drags Nass, Agf To Court Over Ncdc Bill


... Seeks order halting passage of controversial NCDC bill

 

By James Ameh

 

ABUJA— Former Senator representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye, has asked the Fedetal High Court, sitting in Abuja to stop the National Assembly from taking further steps aimed at pasding the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020.

 

In a suit filed in Abuja Monday, Melaye said that several portions of the proposed law which were aimed at amending the Quarantine Act of 1926, were unconstitutional, illegal, and wrongful, adding that they would amount to flagrant abuse of his fundamental rights.

 

He told the court that the Bill which was introduced by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajiabiamila, passed the 1st and 2nd reading on April 28, “with unimaginable speed, despite the lockdown even as there is no known emergency which its provisions are intended to cure, as the Federal Government is already relaxing the lockdown.”

 

In a supporting affidavit to the suit, Melaye asked for an ijunction restraining the Clerk of the National Assembly urged the court to issue an order of injunction to restrain the Clerk of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of the Federation, who were joined as first to 5th respondents in the suit

 

from further proceeding with, or continuing with further debates in respect of the Bill. 

 

The affidavit read in part, “That I know as a matter of fact that section 3(8) of the Bill which empowers the Director-General of the National Center for Disease Control, by himself or any officer under him or a police officer on his direction, to enter into any premises or gathering of people in an area declared by the president as a public health restricted zone, without a warrant, is clearly in breach of my fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and right to liberty of my human person. 

 

“That I also know as a matter of fact that the said provisions conflict to my rights to fair hearing and is also in breach of the twin pillars of natural justice.  

 

“That I know as a matter of fact that section 5(3) of the Bill, which empowers the DG of NCDC, to compel any person suspected by him, of having an infectious disease, to take a medical examination or any test the Director-General of the National Center for Disease Control, prescribes and allow the DG to forcefully take blood or other samples from the person for purposes of public health surveillance, is in breach and or likely to breach my fundamental rights to privacy and right to respect of the dignity of my human person.  

 

“That I also know as a matter of fact, that this section, like the other provisions of this Bill, has nothing to do with whether there is a public health emergency or not. That the said section is meant to be a permanent provision of the law, exercisable at any time at the whims of the DG, NCDC, in contravention of my fundamental human rights.  

 

“That I know as a matter of fact that section 8 of the said Bill, which makes it obligatory for health personnel treating anybody to release to the DG of NCDC, the patient’s medical details and records, is a gross breach of my fundamental rights to dignity of human person and privacy.  

 

"That I also know as a matter of fact that section 13 of the said Bill, which empowers the DG of NCDC, to upon mere suspicion, that a person is infected with an infectious disease, and or recovered from an infectious disease, to arrest the person and detain him for as long as he deems necessary without a warrant or court order at any isolation centre of his choice breaches my fundamental rights liberty and dignity of human person. 

 

“That I know as a matter of fact that section 15 of the Bill, which empowers the Minister of Health, to declare any premises whether public or private as an isolation centre without the payment of compensation, infringes or is likely to infringe upon my right to own properties in Nigeria. 

 

“That I also know as a matter of fact that sections 16,17 and 19 of the Bill, by which Director-General of NCDC, can declare any building or gathering as overcrowded, and to without any court order or warrant, enter the premises using such force as he deems necessary to disperse the group and close the building, amount to infringement or is likely to infringe upon my rights to freedom of association and privacy. 

 

“That I know as a matter of fact that section 19(5) of the Bill which makes the decision of the Minister of health final, directly deprives me of the right of access to the court of justice, contrary to the provisions of Article 7 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. 

 

“That I know as a matter of fact that section 23 of the Bill, which authorizes or empowers the DG of NCDC, or an enforcement officer of his agency or police, to seize anybody walking on the street whom he merely suspects of having an infectious disease, without any warrant is likely to infringe upon my fundamental rights to the dignity of the human person and freedom of movement as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

 

“That I also know as a matter of fact that section 30 of the said Bill, which makes vaccination, for no known specific disease, compulsory without my consent when I am either leaving or arriving in Nigeria, is likely to infringe upon my fundamental rights to privacy and dignity of the human person as provided for in sections 34 and 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. 

 

“That I know as a matter of fact that section 47 of the Bill, which empowers the DG of NCDC, to direct compulsory vaccination in an outbreak or a suspected outbreak is in breach of, and or likely to breach my fundamental rights to dignity of the human person and privacy.”

 

He therefore, prayed the court to declare, “that sections 3(8),5(3),6,8,13,15,16,17,19,23,30 and 47 of the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, which is currently being debated at the floor of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, is in breach, and or is likely to breach the fundamental rights of the Applicant as provided for in sections 33, 34,35,37,38 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 4, 6, 7,10,11,12 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, Articles 2(3),7,8,9,12,17,21 and 22 of The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights,1976, Articles 3,5,8,9,10,12,13,17 and 20 Of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights,1948 and are therefore unconstitutional, illegal, wrongful and amount to flagrant abuse of the fundamental rights of the Applicant.

 

'An order of injunction restraining the Respondents, whether, by themselves, their agents, employees, servants, privies and or howsoever called, from further proceeding with, or continuing with further debates with respect to sections 3(8),5(3),6,8,13,15,16,17,19,23,30 and 47 of the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, which provisions breaches and or are likely to breach the fundamental rights of the Applicant as provided for sections 33, 34,35,37,38 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 4, 6,7,10,11,12 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, Articles 2(3),7,8,9,12,17,21 and 22 of The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights,1976, Articles 3,5,8,9,10,12,13,17 and 20 Of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights,1948”.

 

No date has been fixed for hearing of the mattet.