May 20, 2021

Reps reject Bill seeking transfer of drugs, poison management from exclusive to concurrent list


By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja

A Bill seeking to transfer drugs and poison from the exclusive to concurrent list to give management powers to the States was rejected at the House of Representatives yesterday.

Titled, ”A Bill for an Act to Alter the Second Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) to Transfer Drugs and Poisons from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List; and for Related Matters (HB.1247), the bill was sponsored by Hon. Abbas Tajudeen.

Members of the House were however divided when the sponsor presented it at the plenary to be read and passed for second reading.

The for and against remarks stirred up a mild controversy.

Speaking against the Bill, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai from Delta State rejected the transfer, saying it was unnecessary.

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He said ”I believe that as it is contained in the Exclusive List should be allowed because we are talking issue of drugs. We are not talking of lesser issues that state Houses of Assembly can deal with. I will for the first time, disagree with my friend (Tajudeen) on this critical issue; that issue of drugs should be left with the federal and the National Assembly to look at it at all times.

”I should not be part of the functions that should be devolved to the states because every nation sets a standard on the issue of drugs and when we begin to give it to the states, there will proliferation of laws and different standards on drugs all over the country.”

But contrary to Ossai rejection, the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu supported the reading of the Bill for the second time.

While calling for more support from his colleagues, Okechukwu said that the State needed to be given powers to all are legislated on the items.

He asked the bill be allowed to go for the public hearing to be well evaluated by experts.

Corroborating Okechukwu’s statement, the House Leader, Hon. Ado Doguwa said the bill should be allowed to pass.

“The issue of the drug has been a malaise. The objective of the Bill should not be undermined, what the Bill is seeking is a win-win situation and should be passed to strengthen effective management of drugs and poison in this country”, he said.

In his contribution, Hon. Nkem Abonta from Abia State submitted that the Bill when passed will allow for better control of drugs and poison.

”Drugs and poisons are being sold everywhere, the control is beyond NAFDAC as they don’t have offices in all the states. We must give states the opportunity to control and stop it. Let us not be sentimental. Let it go to a wider debate so that at the public hearing, Nigerians can comment on it”, he said.

But when subjected to a voice vote by Deputy Speaker Ahmed Idris Wase who presided, the majority of the lawmakers rejected the Bill.

Vanguard News Nigeria