Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu has faulted the controversial Control of Infections Disease Bill 2020 and the National Health Emergency Bill 2020 sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and other members of the lower chambers.
Speaking during an interview on “Political Voices”, a current affairs programme on Dream FM, Enugu on Friday, Ekweremadu who represents Enugu West Senatorial District in the Red Chambers described the bill as more dangerous than COVID-19.
“Let me use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that the bill as presently presented will not be passed by the National Assembly. A lot of parliamentarians have lined up to oppose it.
“Parliament is essentially a market place of ideas. And like every other market, if you come to the market with a product that is not very good, you are not likely going to sell it. So, my colleagues in both chambers are entitled to presenting the Bills, but whether that will succeed or not is another kettle of fish.
“Looking at that Bill, which is intended to deal with dangerous or infectious diseases, it appears to me that the Bill is even more dangerous than the disease.
“If you look at some parts of the Bill, it says if you have any problem with the order or actions of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, you have to appeal to the Minister and whatever the Minister says will be final. But Section 4 (8) of the Constitution says that no attempt should be made by the National Assembly or any State Assembly make nay law that ousts or purports to oust the jurisdiction of the court. In other words, you must right to go to court if you have any issues.
“So, to that extent, that Bill is null and void, unacceptable, and unconstitutional.”
He also cited infringements on democratic freedoms, such as freedom of association, freedom of movement, freedom to own properties, among others.
“To that extent, the Bill is unconstitutional because it gives the agency the right to breach those rights take over people’s properties, prevent from moving around, other infringements on rights and the Constitution provides that if any law is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution, that law is null and void to the extent of those inconsistencies.
“As I said, my colleagues have the right to present the Bill, but I can assure Nigerians that that Bill will not be passed as it is presently” he said.