Senator Dino Melaye has heavily criticized the move by Nigeria’s House of Representatives to repeal the Quarantine Act and enact the Control of Infectious Diseases bill.
The new bill seeks to empower the president, the minister of health as well as the director-general of NCDC, and the institutions they head, to make regulations on quarantining, vaccination, and prevention of infectious diseases in Nigeria.
The Quarantine Act provides a penalty of N500 for defaulters, but the new bill proposes a penalty of between N200,000 and N5 million as well as jail terms.
The bill, which has 82 sections, scaled second reading before it was stood down on Tuesday.
However, reacting on Friday, Dino Melaye described the bill sponsored by House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila as “evil and satanic.”
He further stated that the bill was initiated to destroy the civil and human rights of Nigerians.
“THE PROPOSED BILL FOR THE PROHIBITION AND CONTROL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES; AN EVIL AND SATANIC LAW INITIATED TO DESTROY CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS OF NIGERIANS, UNDER THE GUISE OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES CONTROL,” Dino wrote on Twitter.
Dino Melaye, a member of the 8th Nigerian National Assembly, however, shared some parts he considered as “STRANGE PROVISIONS OF THE BILL”
Please read some of the opinions by Dino Melaye below:
Section 3(8) of the Bill which empowers the DG of NCDC 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 the right of Nigerians to freedom of assembly, right to liberty, etc. This kind of power in the hands of an overzealous police officer or NCDC official can cause serious civil unrest.
Section 5(3) of the Bill empowers the DG to compel any person SUSPECTED by him, of having an infectious disease, to take medical examination or test he(DG) prescribes and allow the DG to take a blood or other samples from the person for purposes of public health surveillance. This, of course, is in breach of the constitutional right of every Nigerian to his privacy and right to respect of the dignity of his human person. It must be noted that this section, like the other provisions of this Bill, has nothing to do with whether there is a public health emergency or not. It is meant to be the permanent provision of the law exercisable at any time at the whims of the DG, even the minister of health. A person who refuses to allow the DG to take his samples or do the prescribed test is guilty of an offence.
Sect 6 also has a similar provision. This is dangerous. Even in the developed world, testing for COVID 19 is voluntary despite the ravaging effect of the deadly virus on the health and lives of people. These Developed nations, which are by far, worst affected by this pandemic, are yet to pass any such devilish legislation as now being introduced by our own lawmakers in Nigeria.
Section 8 makes it obligatory for health personnel treating anybody to release to the DG, his client’s medical details and records, without any regards to the age-long norm and professional code of confidentiality between a doctor and his patient. It is a crime to refuse to release the information requested. This is against the ethics of medical practice and an infringement upon the fundamental rights of Nigerians and must also be resisted.
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