The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, a bill for an act to repeal the Quarantine Act 2004 and enact the control of infectious Disease bill; make provisions relating to Quarantine and make regulations for preventing the introduction into and spread in Nigeria of Dangerous infectious diseases and for related matters sponsored by Representative Femi Gbajabiamila and 2 others.
The bill according to Rep. Gbajabiamila, seeks to empower the NCDC and allow it to perform its functions.
Contributing to the debate, Rep. Sergius Ogun (PDP Edo State), in his opinion wants the House to have a rethink and avoid giving so much powers to the NCDC.
He cautioned and urged all to be careful with vaccines and avoid any conspiracy.
Rep. Bamidele Salam believes that the sponsor of the bill meant well, but there are certain areas that need to be amended .
“How are we sure that immediately after the pandemic we will not go back again about the state of our health Institutions.
“This is an emergency situation. The way we are sitting in the house have already defined the essence of the bill.
“Just like we handled the stimulus bill we should do same here, when the bill was about to take off it wasn’t easy. Many people did not believe in the bill”, Rep. Salam stated.
Rep. Nkem Abonta said the bill is for the control of preventive disease.
“We are all aware of what is awash in the social media.
“Why am saying this is, I have seen the Quarantine Act, something bigger than disease control. We need a bill for control of prevention disease. What am trying to say is we should not because of what we are trying to do, make a big error.
“If we are going to do away with public hearing then we must seek for direction and not speed. The bill is a wrong timing.
“Pls lets apply restraint on the speed, Abonta said
But Reps Gbajabiamila, responded that drastical situation required drastic measure.
“It is also not true today that public hearing is an integral part of every bill, but public hearing gives the people outside the opportunity to contribute.
“What this means is that the house will have to subject every bill to public hearing”
“The essence of the bill is what we should keep our focus on and work out the details and I plead that we pass this bill and send it to the Senate, Gbajabiamila said.
Rep. Ossai Nicholas supported the second reading of the bill, but said all the clauses of the bill captures the need to treat and handle outbreaks urgently.
He added that Section 47 and other sub section makes it mandatory at a time when there is an outbreak, on the need for NCDC to swing into action.
The bill was put to a voice vote by Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, and referred to the committee of the whole.