A bill for an Act to repeal the Quarantine Act and enact the Control of Infectious Diseases Act, has passed third reading in the House of Representatives.
This is sequel to a unanimous adoption of a report by the Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Rep. Tanko Sununu at plenary on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the bill, which was sponsored by the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila was widely criticised by the public at its introduction in 2020.
The bill which was initially slated for passage without going through public hearing, arose suspicions in the minds of Nigerians who rose against the bill largely due to the many conspiracy theories around COVID-19.
Following the backlash from Nigerians, the bill was then subjected to public hearing where relevant stakeholders spoke against the bill.
The stakeholders argued that the bill gave too much powers to the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) which could be used to trample on human rights and compel citizens to take vaccines.
There were also reports claiming that the house was given a bridge of $10 million by Bill Gates to pass the bill, a report denied by the billionaire.
Sununu said that the bill is for preventing the introduction and spread in Nigeria of dangerous infectious diseases and other related matters.
“The bill was referred to the committee following its second reading, it is aimed at getting the country in positions to address public health challenges caused by infections, chemicals and other radiations and other agents.
“It contains six parts and 81 section, the committee deliberated severally, conducted a well attended public hearing, organised a report drafting committee to produce the report as presented.
“After diligent consultations and and Legislative addition, I wish to seek the leave of the Chairman for the report to be considered at the committee on the whole.
“The bill has the capacity to increase the resilience of the health system in Nigeria,” he said.
The house then considered bill and members adopted all 81 sections and the six parts as contained therein.
When the Deputy Speaker of the house, Rep. Ahmed Wase called for votes, members voted unanimously for the bill to pass the final stage in the parliament.
The bill will now be transmitted to the Senate for concurrence and onward transfer to the President for assent.