court-declines-to-stop-reps-from-passing-infectious-disease-bill,-dismisses-melaye’s-suit

Court declines to stop Reps from passing Infectious Disease Bill, dismisses Melaye’s suit

Disease Bill

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

The courtroom, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, stated it lacked the jurisdiction to strike down a Bill that’s but to be handed into regulation.

Justice Ojukwu held that the judicial powers of the courtroom may solely be exercised in respect of a regulation that has been enacted, stressing that Melaye’s go well with is non-justiceable because the National Assembly continues to be deliberating on the Bill.

Relying on the doctrine of separation of powers, the courtroom stated it couldn’t at this stage, decide whether or not contents of the Bill would quantity to gross violation of elementary rights of the Applicant.

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However, the courtroom famous that issues Melaye raised within the go well with had been “grave”, saying “it behoves on the Respondents to accord the Bill a second look”.

Melaye, who hitherto represented Kogi West within the Senate, had in his elementary rights enforcement go well with marked FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020, maintained that a number of parts of the proposed regulation which is meant to amend the Quarantine Act of 1926, are unconstitutional, unlawful, and wrongful, saying they’d quantity to flagrant abuse of his elementary rights.

He instructed the courtroom that the Bill which was sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Reps, is looking for to empower the Federal Government to transform any property within the nation, together with non-public property, to isolation centres for infectious illness sufferers.

The Applicant contended that the Bill was additional couched in a means that FG may upon mere suspicion that an individual is contaminated with an infectious illness, arrest and detain the particular person for so long as needed, amongst others.

Cited as Respondents within the go well with FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020, are the Clerk of the National Assembly, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu.

Meanwhile, earlier than the judgement was delivered, the courtroom, struck out the identify of the IGP from the matter, noting that the go well with didn’t disclose any affordable reason behind motion in opposition to him.

Melaye had in a supporting affidavit he connected to the go well with, urged the courtroom to situation an order of injunction to restrain the Respondents from additional continuing with, or persevering with with additional debates with respect to the Bill.

He averred: “That I do know as a matter of incontrovertible fact that part 3(8) of the Bill which empowers the Director-General of the National Center for Disease Control, by himself or any officer beneath him or a police officer on his path, to enter into any premises or gathering of individuals in an space declared by the president as a public well being restricted zone, with no warrant, is clearly in breach of my elementary rights to freedom of meeting and proper to liberty of my human particular person.

“That I additionally know as a matter of incontrovertible fact that the stated provisions battle to my rights to truthful listening to and can also be in breach of the dual pillars of pure justice.

“That I do know as a matter of incontrovertible fact that part 5(3) of the Bill, which empowers the DG of NCDC, to compel any particular person suspected by him, of getting an infectious illness, to take a medical examination or any take a look at the Director-General of the National Center for Disease Control, prescribes and permit the DG to forcefully take blood or different samples from the particular person for functions of public well being surveillance, is in breach and or prone to breach my elementary rights to privateness and proper to respect of the dignity of my human particular person.

“That I additionally know as a matter of reality, that this part, like the opposite provisions of this Bill, has nothing to do with whether or not there’s a public well being emergency or not. That the stated part is supposed to be a everlasting provision of the regulation, exercisable at any time on the whims of the DG, NCDC, in contravention of my elementary human rights.

“That I do know as a matter of incontrovertible fact that part Eight of the stated Bill, which makes it compulsory for well being personnel treating anyone to launch to the DG of NCDC, the affected person’s medical particulars and information, is a gross breach of my elementary rights to dignity of human particular person and privateness.

“That I additionally know as a matter of incontrovertible fact that part 13 of the stated Bill, which empowers the DG of NCDC, to upon mere suspicion, that an individual is contaminated with an infectious illness, and or recovered from an infectious illness, to arrest the particular person and detain him for so long as he deems needed with no warrant or courtroom order at any isolation centre of his alternative breaches my elementary rights liberty and dignity of human particular person.

“That I do know as a matter of incontrovertible fact that part 15 of the Bill, which empowers the Minister of Health, to declare any premises whether or not public or non-public as an isolation centre with out the cost of compensation, infringes or is prone to infringe upon my proper to personal properties in Nigeria.

“That I additionally know as a matter of incontrovertible fact that sections 16,17 and 19 of the Bill, by which Director-General of NCDC, can declare any constructing or gathering as overcrowded, and to with none courtroom order or warrant, enter the premises utilizing such drive as he deems essential to disperse the group and shut the constructing, quantity to infringement or is prone to infringe upon my rights to freedom of affiliation and privateness.

“That I additionally know as a matter of incontrovertible fact that part 30 of the stated Bill, which makes vaccination, for no recognized particular illness, obligatory with out my consent when I’m both leaving or arriving in Nigeria, is prone to infringe upon my elementary rights to privateness and dignity of the human particular person as supplied for in sections 34 and 37 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

“That I know as a matter of fact that section 47 of the Bill, which empowers the DG of NCDC, to direct compulsory vaccination in an outbreak or a suspected outbreak is in breach of, and or likely to breach my fundamental rights to dignity of the human person and privacy”.

He urged the courtroom by way of his lawyer, Nkem Okoro, to uphold the go well with and grant all of the reliefs.

Among different issues, he prayed for, “An order of injunction restraining the Respondents, whether, by themselves, their agents, employees, servants, privies and or howsoever called, from further proceeding with, or continuing with further debates with respect to sections 3(8),5(3),6,8,13,15,16,17,19,23,30 and 47 of the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, which provisions breaches and or are likely to breach the fundamental rights of the Applicant as provided for sections 33, 34,35,37,38 and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 4, 6,7,10,11,12 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, Articles 2(3),7,8,9,12,17,21 and 22 of The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights,1976, Articles 3,5,8,9,10,12,13,17 and 20 Of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights,1948”.

Though the first and 2nd Respondents didn’t file any course of within the matter, the third to fifth Respondents, by way of their attorneys, Kayode Ajulo (for Speaker, Gbajabiamila), M. L. Shiru (for the AGF) and Kehinde Oluwole (for the IGP), prayed the courtroom to dismiss the go well with they maintained was untimely.

In their separate preliminary objections, the Respondents, argued that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi to invoke the courtroom’s jurisdiction over a regulation that’s nonetheless inchoate.

They contended {that a} Bill that’s but to turn out to be a Law couldn’t have breached any of the plaintiff’s constitutional proper, including {that a} Bill present process the method of passage couldn’t be subjected to litigation.

More so, they argued that based mostly on the doctrine of separation of energy, the judiciary can’t intervene within the legislative enterprise of the National Assembly.

The Respondents due to this fact urged the courtroom to dismiss the go well with with price for being frivolous and time-wasting, sustaining that the Bill would nonetheless be subjected to public listening to the place the Applicant would have the chance to ventilate his issues.

According to them, the Applicant failed to indicate how a Bill that has not been enacted into regulation violated his elementary rights.

The courtroom upheld their preliminary objections and dismissed the go well with on Tuesday.

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