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Reps rap govs’ stand on Infectious Diseases Bill



THE stand of 36 states governors’ stand on the controversial Infectious Diseases Bill currently before the National Assembly (NASS) has come under the hammer of House of Representatives.

  The Lower Chamber berated the governors in a statement issued yesterday by Chairman of House Committee on Media, Benjamin Kalu, calling the governors’ position on Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020 as “misguided.”

  According to Kalu, the lawmakers had resolved to subject the Bill to a public hearing where Nigerians from all walks of life would have opportunity of making their inputs towards the draft legislation.

  Kalu also explained that the governors’ position was rather beyond their scope because NASS legislates for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja only.

  This, he said, surprises the lawmakers on how the governors arrived at their decision, only on update from Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State where as bills such as Control of Infectious Diseases Bill are not subject of the concurrence of State Houses of Assembly or state governors as stated in the Constitution.

  Therefore, Kalu added that the governors ought to be aware of the lawful processes of legislation and “should not be misguided” by the position of just one governor who may have already taken a biased position.

  It will be recalled that Nigeria Governors of Forum (NGF) had demanded the stepping down of the Infectious Disease Bill by the national Assembly because House of Reps hastely passed it into law without subjecting it to due process in addition to their failure to consult the state governors.

  The governors made the disclosure yesterday in a communique issued at the conclusion of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF)’s 8th teleconference held to review the COVID-19 situation and develop strategies on how to cushion the effects of the pandemic.

  The communiqué signed by Chairman of NGF and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, said following an update they got from the Vice-Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal, on the proposed Bill,

the Forum resolved that the bill should be suspended un an appropriate consultation process is held, including a public hearing to gather public opinion and concerns, adding that a committee comprising the Governors of Plateau, Sokoto and Katsina  have been set up by the forum to lead a consultative meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly.

  “The NGF secretariat was mandated to comprehensively review the Bill and its implication on states,” he said.

  The governors expressed deep concern over the spike in the number of COVIED-19 cases in the country, agreeing to revamp up capacity for testing and provide a 300 bed space isolation and treatment centre in each state. 

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