The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has raised the alarm that the proposed infectious disease legislation is capable of causing disunity and anarchy in the country if allowed to sail through.
The Christian body said that apart from the various infractions to the country’s constitution, the bill also seeks to curtail the people’s freedom.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja yesterday shortly after presenting the position of the Christian body before the Public Hearing organised by the House of Representatives, the General Secretary of CAN, Mr. JB Daramola said that the Control of Infectious Disease Control Bill can trigger anarchy, disorder and insecurity in the country.
“It is superfluous but undermines every other authority in the country, the president, state governors and others. The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will be made a “Frankenstein monster” with omonibus powers because he will be empowered to restrict fundamental rights and freedoms at will in abuse of constitutionally established institutions and processes without any form of accountability, “ he said.
Daramola said that CAÑ believed that if passed into law, the proposed legislation would violate the supremacy of the 1999 Constitution.
He said that that after a careful study of the proposed bill, CAN was compelled to make some observations.
First, CAN said that the bill does not meet the basic requirement for legal enactments for the common good of the country.
It said that the bill violates the supremacy of the 1999 constitution by usurping the legal and professional powers of other public healthcare institutions.
According to the Christian association, the bill also violates Nigeria’s national interest and security. In addition, CAN said that the proposed bill will violate the established principle of separation of powers”.
CAN said that if passed into law, the legislation is going to attract an unprecedented litigations due to its infringement on the constitution.
The CAN scribe said the religious body took the position to completely discard the offensive bill because it is irredeemable.
“It requires painstaking multiple stakeholders’ consultation, if we must pass any meaningful law in this regard,” he said.
“In our conclusion, the Infectious Disease Control Bill (2020) cannot and should not stand as it is. We appeal that you discard it completely,” he said.
Earlier the CAN’s Director of Legal Services, Mrs. Comfort Otera Chigbue who led the team to the National Assembly’s Public Hearing, faulted the procedure at the hearing, saying that the House of Representatives Committee did not give room for stakeholders to present their position.
She said that process was too hasty and adhoc
According to her from the contents of the proposed bill, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will be conferred with amorphous powers which is even stronger than that of the president and governors.
She said that as far as CAN is concerned, the bill cannot stand the test of time and as such should be discarded with immediate effect.
Also speaking at the press conference, the chairman of CAN, Northern Central zone, Rev. Isreal Akanji said that the position that the Christian body has taken is for all Nigerians, adding that more than 95 per cent of the stakeholders that made presentation at the public hearing all opposed the bill.