A former federal lawmaker, Dino Melaye, has filed a lawsuit against the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila and Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, at a Federal High Court in Abuja over the proposed ‘Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020’ seeking to repeal ‘Quarantine Act of 2004.’
Melaye, who represented Kogi West in the 8th Assembly, disclosed in a tweet on Monday that the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020 also joined the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori and the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Patrick Giwa as the defendants.
Daily Trust reports that the contentious bill, sponsored by the Speaker, and two other members of House of Representatives: Pascal Obi and Tanko Sununu, had last week Tuesday passed through the second reading and it was immediately referred to the Committee of the Whole for speedy consideration and eventual passage before it was later stood down on Thursday.
The 44-page document entitled: ‘Control Of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020 A Bill For An Act To Repeal The Quarantine Act And Enact The Control Of Infectious Diseases Act, Make Provisions Relating To Quarantine And Make Regulations For Preventing The Introduction Into And Spread In Nigeria Of Dangerous Infectious Diseases, And For Other Related Matters’, seeks to empower the Federal Government to convert any property in the country, including private properties, to isolation centres.
Section 15 of the proposed bill partly read: “The Minister may, for the purpose of preventing the spread or possible outbreak of an infectious disease, by notification in the Gazette declare any premises to be an isolation area… A person who leaves or attempts to leave or is suspected of having left an isolation area in contravention of an order under subsection (3) may be arrested without warrant by any police officer, or by any Health Officer authorised in writing in that behalf by the Director-General.”
The former lawmaker stated: “I have just filed a court action against the Speaker and House of Representatives on the wicked bill initiated by Hon Femi Gbajabiamila this morning at the Federal High Court Abuja. We shall overcome.”
The notice of the application as displayed by Melaye’s account read: “Notice of application for an order enforcing fundamental rights (is) brought pursuant to Sections 34 (1), 35 37, 38, 40, 41 (1), 44, and 46 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as altered; (and) Articles 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.”