Nigerian Governors want lawmakers to step down infectious diseases bill

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) led by Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi has asked the National Assembly to step down the Infectious Diseases Bill sponsored by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila.

The Bill seeks to ensure compulsory vaccination of citizens against infectious diseases, make possession of health card mandatory for international travellers leaving or arriving in Nigeria just like yellow fever card and repeal the Quarantine Act.

Fayemi in a statement he signed, on Wednesday, after a virtual meeting with other Governors called for the bill to be stepped down pending an appropriate public hearing to gather public opinion and concerns.

Following an update from the Governor of Sokoto State and Vice Chairman of the NGF, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, on the proposed Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 introduced by the House of Representatives, Governors raised concern with the lack of consultation with State governments who are at the forefront of the epidemic.

“The Forum resolved that the Bill should be stepped down until an appropriate consultative process is held, including a public hearing to gather public opinion and concerns.

“In the light of this, the Forum established a Committee comprising the Governors of Katsina, Sokoto, and Plateau to lead a consultative meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly on the proposed Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020.

“The NGF Secretariat was also mandated to comprehensively review the Bill and its implication on States.”

The bill has since its introduction drawn controversies with civil society groups questioning the powers it vests in the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the health minister to make regulations on quarantining, vaccination and prevention of infectious diseases in Nigeria.

The bill with 82 sections scaled second reading before it was stood down.

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