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SDP faults speedy passage of NCDC infectious diseases bill

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Social Democratic Party (SDP) has charged the House of Representatives to immediately stop passage of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Bill, purportedly meant to strengthen the NCDC sponsored by Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila.

Speaking yesterday, National Chairman of SDP, Professor Tunde Adeniran, faulted certain aspects of the Bill, which he said, were against the interest and fundamental rights of Nigerians.

He told The Guardian that the handling of the Bill was a circumvention of due process and that the process lacked transparency, describing the development as “worrisome and questionable.”

Adeniran pointed out that the ‘speedy’ deliberation on the Bill has given some lawmakers in the House cause for concerns.

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“There are complaints even among the lawmakers that the process was not in line with established norms on the ground that necessary documents were not given to members to study.

“This would have enabled them to understand its contents before it was presented and hurriedly made to pass the first and second readings,” he added.

He pointed out that it was also curious that the Bill scaled third reading in an unprecedented manner and is now only left for passage!

“The Bill is of great interest to Nigerians and should not have been railroaded by the House of Representatives through first and second readings.

“Considering the rancour that followed the hasty processing of the Bill and objections raised by some concerned members, who pointed out some aspects of the Bill considered detrimental to the interests and fundamental rights of Nigerians.

“The SDP, as a pro-people political party that will not compromise on due process or the rights of Nigerians, condemns the circumvention of the process and lack of transparency in the handling of the Bill.”

“We, therefore, urge the leadership of the House of Representatives to stop the passage of the Infectious Disease Bill forthwith and subject it to thorough debate by all members and conduct public hearings as may be necessary,” he said.

Adeniran also urged other political parties and civil society groups to resist any hasty attempt to pass the Bill without undergoing due process, saying, “The foregoing position of our party on this matter is consequent upon some very unsettling provisions of the Bill which have been identified as arrogating unlimited powers to NCDC to enforce compulsory vaccination of all Nigerians.

“It also provides that failure by people to take the vaccine would result in their being deprived of their entitlements and rights of free movement, including prevention from purchase of travel tickets and boarding flights, among others.”

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