*Seeks order halting passage of controversial bill
A former federal lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye, on Monday, approached the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, praying it to stop the National Assembly from taking further steps to pass the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020.
Melaye, who hitherto represented Kogi West in the Senate, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020, maintained that several portions of the proposed law which is intended to amend the Quarantine Act of 1926, are unconstitutional, illegal, and wrongful, saying 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 and there is no known emergency which its provisions are intended to cure, in view of the fact that the Federal Government is already relaxing the lockdown”.
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In a supporting affidavit he attached to the suit, the former lawmaker, 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, who were cited as 1st to 5th Respondents in the matter, from further proceeding with, or continuing with further debates with respect to the Bill.
He averred: “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”.