The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has called for a review of the discretionary powers of the president and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as contained in the proposed Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 (HB 836). NGF made this call in a communiqué at the end of the forum’s tenth teleconference meeting.
The chairman, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, who reiterated the position of the forum, said the proposed bill took into account the crucial role of state governments within Nigeria’s federal system in responding to pandemics.
He added, “Specifically, state governors should be conferred with the powers, among others, to declare any place within their state an infected area, make regulations and directives towards prevention and further spread of an infectious disease within the state.
“Establish States Centres for Disease Control. The discretionary powers of Mr. President and the Director General (of NCDC) as contained in the proposed bill should be reviewed.
“Finally, while cautioning on certain human rights violations in the proposed bill, governors also highlighted potential contraventions of the Nigerian constitution.”
According to him, the governors were urged to declare a state of emergency on sexual and Gender-based Violence (GBV), adding that governors strongly condemned all forms of violence against women and children and were committed to ensuring that offenders face the maximum weight of the law.
He called on governors that had not domesticated the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, the Child Rights Act and relevant gender-based protection laws to do so.
“Governors will commit additional funding for the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence through appropriate Ministries, Departments and Agencies.”
IN the same vein, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has rejected the bill, describing it as a gross infringement of Citizens’ Fundamental Human Rights making it Supra-Constitutional Entity.
CAN threatened to join other Nigerians to sue the National Assembly if the bill eventually scales through. Briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja, General Secretary of CAN, Joseph Daramola, observed that the association had studied the bill in-depth and observed that if passed for implementation, it would trigger anarchy and insecurity.
The bill is dead on arrival as all stakeholders, including the NCDC and ministers, have rejected it. According to Daramola, the bill is not only superfluous, but undermines every other authority in the country, including the president, governors and the likes, and will make the legislature that enacted the law irrelevant towards implementation and control.
By Matthew Ogune and Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze,