Melaye sues National Assembly, others over Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020
•Wants court to stop further proceedings on it
Former Senator Dino Melaye has dragged the National Assembly and three others before a Federal High Court in Abuja over the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, currently being debated at the floor of the House of Representatives.
Melaye, in a fundamental human rights enforcement suit, said the bill is in breach or is likely to breach his fundamental rights as provided for in 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 and are therefore unconstitutional, illegal, wrongful and amount to flagrant abuse of his fundamental rights.
The suit, which has the Clerk of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police as respondents, seeks an order of the court declaring the provisions of sections 3(8), 5(3),6,8,13,15,16,17,19,23,30 and 47 of the Control Of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, invalid and unconstitutional, as same constitutes a gross abuse of his fundamental rights and will likely be infringing upon his fundamental rights if eventually passed into law.
He also wants the court to direct the 1st to 3rd Respondents to delete the provisions of sections 3(8),5(3),6,8,13,15,16,17,19,23,30 and 47 of the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, for being inconsistent with sections 33, 34,35,37,38 and 40 of the Constitution and constitute a gross abuse of his fundamental rights if eventually passed into law.
Dino is also seeking an order of injunction restraining the Respondents 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 are likely to breach his fundamental rights.
In an affidavit in support of his application, Dino averred that, on April 28, 2020, the Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020, which is intended to amend the Quarantine Act of 1926, was introduced by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajiabiamila and that the said Bill passed the 1st and 2nd readings before the House of Representatives on the said date.
He further noted that most of the provisions of the said Bill constitute a flagrant breach of his fundamental rights and or, are likely to breach his rights.
“That I know as a matter of fact that section 3(8) of the Bill which empowers the Director-General of the National Center for Disease Control (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 my fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and right to liberty of my human person”.
Dino further averred that the said provisions violate his rights to a fair hearing and also in breach of the twin pillars of natural justice.
“That section 5(3) of the Bill, which empowers the DG of NCDC, to compel any person suspected by him, of having an infectious disease, to take a medical examination or any test the DG of the NCDC prescribes and allow the DG to forcefully take a blood or other samples from the person for purposes of public health surveillance, is in breach and or likely to breach my fundamental rights to privacy and right to respect of the dignity of my human person.
“That section 8 of the said Bill, which makes it obligatory for health personnel treating anybody to release to the DG of NCDC, the patient’s medical details and records, is a gross breach of my fundamental rights to dignity of the human person and privacy.
“That section 13 of the said Bill, which empowers the DG of NCDC, to upon mere suspicion, that a person is infected with an infectious disease, and or recovered from an infectious disease, to arrest the person and detain him for as long as he deems necessary without a warrant or court order at any isolation centre of his choice breaches my fundamental rights liberty and dignity of the human person”, he averred among others.