JUST IN: COVID-19: Sen Melaye drags Gbajabiamila to court over quarantine bill

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

/ by Joe Adams

Dino Melaye, senator who formerly represented Kogi West at the Senate, has sued speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila for introducing a controversial Bill which may give disproportionate powers to the Minister of Health and the Director General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) .

Gbajabiamila had introduced infectious disease bill that just passed second reading at the House of Representatives. This was done within a space of two hours, despite the opposition from several House members.

The bill seeks to provide an updated basis for the Government’s anti-pandemic efforts, replacing the National Quarantine Act of 2004.

The bill if signed into law, will give the Minister of Health the right to convert any building into an isolation area, while the police will be able to arrest anybody suffering from an infectious disease, without a warrant.

It also gives the NCDC Director General the power to close down premises deemed to be overcrowded, in a country where millions live in cramped spaces, while officials authorized by him will be able to detain individuals without any warrant.

However, Senator Dino Melaye in a tweet on Tuesday, disclosed that he has filed a suit against the house speaker to challenge the bill.

He wrote, "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.

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