Court fixes June 1 to hear Dino’s suit against NASS over infectious bill

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A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, fixed June 1 to hear a suit filed by Sen. Dino Melaye against the National Assembly over the consideration of the infectious diseases bill 2020. The bill was sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu fixed the date to enable the applicant serve court processes on all counsel in the matter.

Earlier, Mr Kayode Ajulo, counsel to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, said that he was yet to receive the processes of the applicant and was therefore not ready for the matter. He, however, accepted service following the directive of the judge. Former senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, had dragged the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to court over the controversial “Control of Infectious Disease Bill 2020”.

Melaye also joined the clerks of the senate and house of representatives as respondents. The bill, which was sponsored by Gbajabiamila and other lawmakers; Pascal Obi and Tanko Sununu, seeks to empower the Federal Government to, upon mere suspicion that a person is infected with an infectious disease, arrest and detain the person for as long as necessary.

Section 37 of the Bill also seeks to empower the Federal Government to direct compulsory vaccination in an outbreak or a suspected outbreak of an infectious disease. Melaye approached the court under the fundamental rights enforcement to the dignity of his person, personal liberty, right to private and family life, right to freedom of movement and right to own immovable property in Nigeria.

Mr Nkemakolam Okoro, counsel to Melaye, told newsmen that several sections of the bill were likely to infringe on the rights of both his client and other Nigerians. “A situation whereby Nigerians are made to be forcefully vaccinated, where they cannot travel out or come into the country without being subjected to forceful vaccination, the situation whereby the director – general of the centre for disease control can just see you on the road and arrest you without any test and subject you to detention for as long as he wants on mere suspicion that you may be having an infectious disease.

“A situation whereby the director – general can invade any premises or acquire your property without payment of compensation, are issues we have with the bill and we think those provisions, if passed into law are likely to infringe upon the fundamental rights of Nigerians, ” Okoro said. He is, therefore, praying the court for an order declaring some sections of the bill invalid and unconstitutional, as same constituted a gross abuse of the fundamental rights of his client and or will likely be infringing upon the fundamental rights of his client and Nigerians if eventually passed into law.


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