Court fixes June 1 to hear suit seeking to stop Reps from passing NCDC Bill

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By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

passing NCDC Bill

passing NCDC Bill

ABUJA- The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, slated June 1 to hear the suit seeking to stop the House of Representatives from taking further steps to pass the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill 2020.



Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu adjourned the case to enable the plaintiff who is a former federal lawmaker, Senator Dino Melaye, to effect service of the court processes on all the Respondents.

Cited as Respondents in the suit 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.

When the matter came up before the court on Wednesday, Clerks of both the National Assembly and the House of Representatives, as well as the AGF, had no legal representation.

Likewise, even though the Speaker of the House of Reps, Gbajabiamila who the 3rd Respondent and sponsor of the Bill, was represented by his lawyer, Dr. Kayode Ajulo, he, however, notified the court that he was not served with the relevant processes to enable him to file his response to the suit.

Justice Ojukwu, therefore, directed the plaintiff, through his lawyer, Mr. Nkem Okoro, to ensure that all the Respondents were duly served with all the court processes before the adjourned date.

The IGP who was listed as the 5th Respondent in the suit was represented by his lawyer, Mr. Kehinde Oluwole.

Meantime, the effort by counsel to the plaintiff to persuade the court to issue an interim order to restrain the Respondents from taking any action with respect of the Bill, pending the determination of the suit, failed.

Justice Ojukwu stressed that the condition precedent that would empower the court to issue such an ex-parte injunction was not met by the plaintiff since he failed to serve all the parties with the relevant processes.

Melaye, who hitherto represented Kogi West in the Senate, had in the suit he filed on May 5, contended that several portions of the proposed law which is intended to amend the Quarantine Act of 1926, are unconstitutional, illegal, and wrongful, saying they would amount to flagrant abuse of his fundamental rights.

He told the court that the Bill which was introduced by the Speaker, passed the 1st and 2nd reading on April 28, “with unimaginable speed, despite the lockdown and there is no known emergency which its provisions are intended to cure, in view of the fact that the Federal Government is already relaxing the lockdown”.

he is among other things, praying the court to declare, “that 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 is currently being debated at the floor of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, is in breach, and or is likely to breach the fundamental rights of the Applicant 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 the fundamental rights of the Applicant.”

As well as, “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.

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